Friday, June 22, 2007

Tomato Basil Soup with Curried Rice

Last night, I threw together the tastiest and quickest dinner I may have ever made. Okay, short of a sandwich or reheating leftovers. I got the idea from a sale ad I saw earlier this week. I didn't love the recipe, but the idea behind it was intriguing and it did inspire me to use it as a springboard for something I would really like. This would be a good time to mention that Curries are among my favorite in the culinary world. I did not mention this when I posted a picture of part of my herb garden BUT........ I discovered something new this year. While at a nursery searching for a few herbs I would buy as plants, I detected the most heavenly scent. I was standing over cilantro and smelling CURRY! I honestly smelled Curry. IMPOSSIBLE! First of all, Curry is a spice not an herb. Second, though there is ground coriander (which comes from the same plant as cilantro) in the curry spice blend... there is no cilantro. Then I noticed a plant that looked like Rosemary or even more like Lavender, but had a silver hue to it, and it was daintier. I rubbed the needle like leaves and sniffed. CURRY! For those of you avid herb gardeners, you may think me nuts.. but I have never seen or heard of this delightful little piece of the herb plant world. I had no idea just how you cook with this culinary find, but I bought two and figured I would sort out the details later. They are both pictured here. Since buying these plants I have looked them up and found that:
"Culinary: The English especially like to use this herb, fresh in cream cheese for sandwiches, egg dishes, in salads and with chicken. Here at our farm we like to use the fresh and dried curry in egg dishes."

Although I do not remember where, I read somewhere online that you can treat snipped pieces of the plant like bay leaves. Put them in a dish that cooks in liquid and remove them just before serving. I guess I will have to think about how I would like to try that.... but for now the way that the English use it is certainly good enough for me.

Having said all of that, I will tell you now that these curry plants had nothing to do with dinner last night. I used Red Curry powder. :-) And, here is the recipe:

Tomato Basil Soup with Curried Rice

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Curry powder
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice
2 cups water
2 10 3/4 ounce cans condensed Tomato soup
1 1/3 cans of water (use soup cans)
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
1/4 teaspoon ground red (Cayenne) pepper
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add only 1 tsp. of the Curry powder, and all of the salt and black pepper. Saute the seasonings in oil and add uncooked rice. Cook the rice stirring it until it is golden... maybe 3 minutes. Add the 2 cups of water. Bring this to a boil and cover. Simmer on a lower heat until the rice is tender.... about 15 minutes.

In another saucepan heat the soup, remaining water, the other teaspoon of curry powder, basil, and red pepper. Simmer on low until the rice is done.

In the middle of a soup bowl (low and flat bowls are best here) put a mound of the rice. Have the mound higher than where you plan to put soup. Then, ladle or pour soup around the rice. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

I am always looking for great recipes that use fresh herbs. This one definitely qualifies. I hope you enjoy it, too.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Update on: Scones a second time.

First, I just want to say the Lemonade Scones reheat very nicely the following morning. Test passed, beautifully! And now, I need to get walking to get this scone testing off of my body.

Second thing I want to say is: I got the information about that Geranium story. I had searched before, but today was the day of success. The title is, "The Magic Geranium". The author is, Jane Thayer. The book is titled Read-Aloud Funny Stories, by Jane Thayer. It was published in, 1958. Did I not say earlier that some really great things came out of 1958? ;-) See my Father's Day Cards, post.... scroll down to the beautiful classic cars. When I finally was able to get an image of the book it rang familiar. I think this is it. eBay had one, that is where I got the image from, but the auction had ended. I will continue to look for this book. If anyone has any leads I would be very interested in hearing them, and appreciative. :-)

Have a great day!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Scones a second time.

Those of you that have read my Saturday Scones post, and the comment from Miss Eagle regarding that post, this post is primarily for you. Miss Eagle was concerned that I did not enjoy the Lemonade Scones as much as she and most people do. Now, I gotta say right off... and I did say this in that post, they were good. I was just disappointed in how they lost their lightness and flavor within a few short hours. When I initially read the recipe I was concerned about the possible lack of leavening ability it had. As far as I could tell, the self-rising flour was the only leavening agent. I did wonder if lemon had some power that I was not aware of. I noticed that Miss Eagle's lemonade in her photo of her ingredients, was from a bottle made by Schweppes's. I've seen Schweppes's Ginger Ale, Lime flavored and plain Seltzer water. Never Schweppes's carbonated lemonade. Minute Maid, Country Time..... you name it, our bottled lemonade's are non-carbonated. So, I made some lemonade and used that. After all, they were called "Lemonade Scones", and the recipe called for lemonade. My technique for scone making has been developed over years of fun making lots of scones. So, I was confident I was okay there. After Miss Eagle and I did some ingredient comparing through email, we discovered that the problem was in fact the "lemonade". In Australia, what that means is lemon flavored seltzer water. That made sense. I knew there was not enough leavening. The seltzer provides carbonation that aids the leavening process. By the time I understood that it was flavored seltzer water that I needed, I had found and purchased a bottle of carbonated lemonade. I thought the name of the Lemonade was so appropriate, "The Switch". So, I used it and made a second batch of these scones this morning. What a difference a few bubbles makes. For starters, I only used the 2 cups of self-rising flour when I used homemade lemonade. When I used the carbonated lemonade, I used nearly 3 cups of flour to get the dough to a consistency that it was not goopy and could be rolled. Miss Eagle does mention that you may have to add flour. I have to say, the dough both times was light and so easy to work with. It was like silk. The batch I made today however, rose much higher than the first batch. They had more flavor and stood the time test. These are great scones and I recommend them highly. By the way, I did add currants to half of the batch. Double yum. Yum!! Yum!! Thank you, Miss Eagle for your personal attention here. I am so glad we have met. And yes, let's stay in touch.

Okay, so here is the recipe off of Miss Eagle's blog. (also on link above)

2 cups SR flour
pinch salt
1 dessertspoon sugar
2/3 cup lemonade
1 cup cream.

Note: Miss Eagle had to add a little extra flour. This could be to do with the absorbency of the flour. As Miss Eagle has mentioned before, flour varies in its rates of absorbency.

There were no instructions with this recipe, but there is a link to Miss Eagle's Buttermilk scones where directions can be found.

Now, let me tell you how I actually ended up making them:
  • Use a cold bowl and utensils. I freeze them for a few minutes.
  • Measure cream in a cup and set in freezer for 5 minutes.
  • Sift all dry ingredients together. A dessert spoon is the equivalent of 2 teaspoon. I used 1 TBSP.
  • Add cream, gently stir.
  • Add room temperature carbonated lemonade, mix well but do so quickly.
  • Spray butter flavored cooking spray on baking surface.
  • On a floured surface knead with palms as little as possible.
  • 2" biscuit cutter.. cut scones.
  • Brush the top of each scone with cream and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.
  • 425 degree oven
  • 13 minutes
  • Place on cooling rack immediately so that moisture from the scone does not cause the bottom to go soggy.

A little clotted cream or whipped cream cheese, some jam............... Eat and Enjoy!

While you are cleaning up..... drink the rest of that lemonade, cold. Ummmmm good stuff! Oh, there really is not a detectable lemon flavor or essence in these scones. I will work on a recipe for that. But these are great scones just the same.

Okay, so when I moved the butter dish off of the counter and set it on the stove top to knead the scones, I knew I should have moved it away from the heat. But............. and so the half stick of butter melted completely to liquid. I had just used whipped cream cheese and I knew I only had a few good spoonfuls of it left as well. So, I poured the melted butter into the whipped cream cheese container and mixed them up. I then went out to the herb garden on my deck and snipped some Lemon Thyme, English Thyme and Sweet Basil. I gently crushed them to release their flavor and stirred them into the cream cheese butter mixture. Then, I added just a little bit of dry white wine and whipped it all up nicely. I put the container in the refrigerator and will take it out 10 minutes before dinner tonight to soften. I will have a loaf of bread and this will be the butter. What a treat. I don't usually do the butter thing. Oh, and I NEVER do the margarine thing... don't even own any. Haven't for ye..... a couple of decades.

Also, I don't use "cooking wine". "Cooking Wine" starts out as poorly made wine. Then, by law, has to be made undrinkable. The "must" of wine is the mixture of fermenting grape juice, skins, pips, etc. To make "cooking wine" undrinkable, the makers add salt, and/or MSG to the must. Usually, other ingredients are used as well. So, take a poorly made wine and add salt and other nasties to it, and you have, "cooking wine". Guess what a salty poorly made wine will do to your marinating chicken breast or beef stew. Nothing doing. I try to use the best ingredients I can..... and "cooking wine" is not one of them. Since I am not a dry red or dry white wine drinker, and these are the two most common wines needed for cooking.... I keep little 1 cup?? bottles on hand. If I opened a regular bottle of dry red or white wine, it would go bad before I used it all. So.........

Actually, I am not a white wine drinker at all. I will say though, when traveling through Missouri once, I discovered St. James Winery. Their Velvet White has to be considered an exception to the white wines. It is sweet and not dry, but it is a white wine. Much to my surprise... I liked it.

My herb garden is not huge this year, and this is not the entire garden. But, this much of it is right outside of my kitchen door and so it is where I get most of my herbs when I am in the kitchen and want to grab an herb or two.

I have some left over angel hair pasta in the refrigerator. Just enough Parmesan cheese for one meal. And, there is a can of Muir Glen diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes in the cupboard. I think I will saute some olive oil, a couple of cloves of garlic and crushed red pepper together. Throw in the tomatoes. Snip some more basil and toss it in. Then add the left over angel hair. That should be great with the bread and herb butter. Grab the cottage cheese (again, just enough for us one meal) and put the pineapple that's in the refrigerator on top of the cottage cheese. Sounds like dinner to me. Don't even bother taking the chicken out to thaw. YES!!! I love to clean out the fridge just before the weekend.

You know, this is what I call a Geranium day. When I was in early elementary school, I had several books that were called, Read-Aloud books. I really loved those books. I am hoping to find them when I clean out mom's attic. One of them had a story called, I believe, The Geranium. It was about a lady that was not feeling happy. Her friend brought a potted Geranium to her and set it on her dining room table. The act of kindness and the beautiful flowers made her feel better. She got up and started to straighten and clean because the house seemed to look even worse with the beautiful and bright flowers sitting in the middle of it. Start the scones.... butter melts... make herb butter... clean out fridge....... great dinner........ and scones for tea later. A Geranium day. I would love to know if anyone has ANY clue were I could find the old, Read-Aloud books. I should email Kelli. Bet she'd know.

Bake some scones, make some tea, relax.... but mostly,
Be blessed...........

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ruth Graham's Final Earthly Home

I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work
you gave me to do.
John 17:4 (NLT)

Ruth Graham, was laid to rest yesterday. I thought this article was very interesting and wanted to share it with anyone that would care to read it. It always blesses me when I read about this family. They are humans and so not perfect. But oh, for my family to just be so human.

It won’t be long-
the sun is slowly
slipping out of sight;
lengthening shadows

deepen into dusk;

still winds whisper;

all is quiet’

it won’t be long-

-til night.

It won’t be long-

the tired eyes close;

her strength nearly gone;

frail hands that

ministered to many

lie quiet, still;

Light from another world!
Look up, bereaved!

It won’t be long
-till Dawn!

Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth Bell Graham’s Collected Poems
by Ruth Bell Graham,
1977, 1992, 1997 Ruth Bell Graham,
Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

UPDATE:  November 8, 2013   As I look back today to  see look at the two article links above I discovered they were no longer available. 

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day Cards

To imitate someone is to pay them a genuine compliment, and it usually happens unknowingly. I used to tell my girls that when someone copied them, even (and especially) if it was one of their sisters, that it was the highest form of flattery. For my Father's Day card for Jon this year, I had an idea that I thought might make a nice card, but I wasn't particularly excited about it because I wasn't sure how perfect it would be for Father's Day. Then I saw Kim's Father's Day card. It was really nice, and very wonderful for a Father's Day card. I had been wanting to do Beate's tutorial for her Gate Fold Card. So guess what?

Um...... let's just say that Kim can feel very flattered, the highest and most sincere form of flattery, too. :-)

Thanks, Kim.

"Imitation is the sincerest of flattery."
Charles Caleb Colton circa 1820

Kim used the SU Classic Pickups set for her image, I used SU's Loads of Love.

Great things came out of the year 1958 :-), and here is one of them.

Oh! how sleek! OH!! how PINK!! Love at first sight!

But, as much as I admired and appreciated this Thunderbird and a few other 58's that were there, this 1956 Nash Metropolitan was my "Ladies Pick" of the day. What a beautiful, and oh so cute little trunkless scooter. I had visions of grabbing a friend, throwing our lightly packed bags in the back seat, and heading back down to Juliette, Georgia. Oh was this little car cute! Said that, huh? Well, she was a winner in my book. And, if only you could have seen the bad state it was originally in.

The owner had restoration progress pictures.

These classic car pictures are ones I took at church a couple of weeks ago. Our church hosted an antique car show that Sunday morning. It was advertised on our church web site and throughout the community. A good number of people that don't normally attend church brought their cars. There were those that just came to see the beautiful cars. It was really well attended and a lot of fun. Our church grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, and offered chips and pop. There was a good time had by all as far as I could tell.

Having the heart and the gifting of an evangelist, our pastor gave an amazing message on failure and being broken. But, the cornerstone of his message was on being restored.... like these beautiful cars had been. The message was really good (always is) and genius in it's timing with so many there that did not know Jesus, as their Savior personally.

Pastor began by going over the basics of humanity and our fallen condition. He went over how failure at times is inevitable, but that failure is an event and not a person. We do fail, we aren't failures. That in fact, God created us to do great things. He illustrated a few ways to prevent failure. He talked about how things can work out if we know Jesus. And when we trust in God, he will help us to make sure we finish those things he gave us to do. He then gave everyone the opportunity to receive Jesus into their life, and make Him Savior and Lord. After all, that is the first and most necessary step to restoration. Wow! what a great sermon and service all in all. It was a marvelous outreach.

Jon and I love classic cars, and so I thought the old truck on the Father's Day card was a really good idea. Since that was the theme on the card, I wanted to share my church's antique car show with you. Wish you could have been there.

And of course, Baxter had a card all ready, too. He is not above kissing up when he knows there is fresh hamburger headed for the grill.

Thought I'd slip another picture.....

or two of him in here while I am at it.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday Scones

Normally, if I make fresh scones, muffins or if I don't have any pancakes that I have frozen from a bulk batch made previously, it is on a Saturday. Last Sunday was an oversleeping fluke. So today I made a batch of scones.... cause tonight it's early to bed and early to rise..... and off to church in the morning. Anyway, the batch I made was a very typical batch. The recipe I used was just about like so many others I've tried. The scones were great when they first came out of the oven. They were even good after about an hour. After that they went lifeless and become a little chewy, and the flavor diminished. These were lemonade scones. I thought that sounded great, being a big lemon lovin' fan. I figured the lemon flavor would be subtle. It was non-existent. I added dried cranberries to half of the batch because I really enjoy cranberry and citrus together. I was glad I did since that was the only real flavor. So, I guess I am done trying new scone recipes. I've been at it quite a while and until last Sunday, I am always disappointed. Last Sunday, I developed a recipe that was great fresh, good later cold, and just as good reheated the next day. So, I am sticking to my original plan and taking that recipe and adding things like lemon zest, cranberries and other dried fruits, blueberries and other fresh fruits, chocolate chips, and anything else I can think of that would work in a scone. I am so happy with that recipe that I may even break out of the traditionally sweet mold, and try savory using herbs, cheese and flavorful meats. You just never know. :-) But, unless Marks and Spencer, or the someone on the kitchen staff at Balmoral sends me another scone recipe, I'm done looking.

Living in a climate where the weather is such that you can enjoy eating outside for only a few and short precious months, we eat just about every meal on the deck. We love it!! The picture I took of the scones before we ate had so much sunlight that their true color wasn't portrayed. This is the same batch of scones, the color just seemed a little truer inside than out. Now,I'm glad I took a picture when they came out of the oven.

Father's Day is tomorrow. You know what I like about Mother's Day and Father's Day? Two things. One, it does give you a time to set aside and honor that parent. Two, and this is by far the more important reason........ it's Scriptural. In both the Old and New Testament we are commanded to honor our parents. It is the first commandment with a promise, and what a promise!!

And speaking of honoring....

Be blessed..........

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth Bell Graham
June 10, 1920 ~ June 14, 2007 Thank you Ruth, for who you are and what you left us!I must say that I do not remember not knowing the name, Billy Graham. Billy Graham's Crusades were on our radio and television as far back as I can remember, and we never missed one if it was available to us. He was an evangelist sent to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ, to those that had not made Him their Savior. But like us, Christians around the world for five decades enjoyed listening to the good Word he preached. There was always good teaching for those who knew Jesus as their Savior, as well. In addition to Crusades, my grandmother had his books around. My mother had his books around. And, I have always had his books around. We have given them as gifts and spent time discussing them. They read them, and so do I. Then one wonderful day, a man named Franklin Graham, hit the scene as did his book, Rebel With a Cause. I loved this book. I related to Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham. He was wild, fearless and in his own world. Then after a short conversation with his father somewhere between New York and Washington D.C. (I believe... I will double check that) his conscience was pricked and very soon after Franklin gave his heart and entire life to Jesus. Being an all or nothing kinda guy, he turned everything around and now heads a ministry he founded and that I favor, Samaritan's Purse, as well as his father's ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. My family always loved Billy Graham, so did and do I. Presidents and foreign heads of state have asked for his counsel and he has been timely changer of the complexion of this world for over half a decade. But, Franklin??? What a character! I was so excited about his book because it meant that it looked like there would be a Billy Graham for my generation. And indeed, that has turned out to be the case.

But, let me tell you what was woven into the fiber of that book of Franklin Graham's; the son of the very famous and wonderful evangelist, Billy Graham. There inside those pages was his mom,
Ruth Bell Graham. There was the great woman behind the man. She made Billy Graham's ministry possible and was the one that shaped the lives of their five children. I gleaned some wonderful faith, strength and a few good tips about raising children from, Rebel With a Cause. I do not think that was Franklin's intent in writing that book, but it was a valuable perk.

Ruth Bell Graham, was the quiet force in that home. Her Lord was the power, peace and direction. And that is where she got hers.
A great woman left this side of glory less than an hour ago. Oh, what is she doing now? Singing? Dancing? Worshipping? Laughing? I am sure of it. Please take a moment and read this obituary about this extraordinarily lovely woman. This slideshow memorial will give you a really good look at who Ruth Bell Graham was. I urge you to take a moment and watch it.

There have been two good biographies (probably more) about her that I am aware of . Ruth Bell Graham: Celebrating an Extraordinary Life is one of them. And, another one that was penned by Patricia Cornwell, the contemporary crime novel author.

Ms. Cornwell gives Ruth Graham, a hand in the credit for the forming of her career. The title of that
biography is, Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham. Take some time and read these books. Only through the written word have I gotten to know, respect and love this woman for who she was and what she has left us. Heaven, as if there weren't enough beautiful perks there, just welcomed home one more. I look forward to meeting this virtuous, excellent, and blessed woman among women one day when I step over into glory.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


For those of you that stamp and are familiar with Stampin' Up's stamp sets, you know that Voila! is the name of the stamp set I used on this card. I ordered it during this last Sell-a-bration. I have been so eager to use it. It is a really fun set to use. I will be looking for excuses to use it again and again, I am sure. I have only made two cards in a week and a half and it feels GREAT! Both cards were fun to make, I love the people they were for, and there was no self inflicted pressure to meet any requirements and time deadlines. It's wonderful to be back to having an happy hobby!

Anyway, this first time out of the box it was used for my daughter and son-in-law's anniversary.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Strawberry Tea........ delicious!

I have a grand daughter that likes to have teas. And, she loves pink. Great kid! When she had her Strawberry Shortcake birthday party, I looked everywhere for Strawberry tea. I have looked on and off for some time now for it. I can make great Iced Strawberry Tea by using strawberry puree. But, I've wanted Strawberry tea for hot tea so she could use the little dainty pink teacups. I would have gladly gone with loose tea. Today, I nearly gave a little shout in the coffee and tea isle of my local grocery. There it was in the prettiest box no less. I bought it to give to my grand daughter. I opened it tonight to do a little taste test. This box will never last until I get it to her. I will be getting another new box just for her.... 'cause this one is going to be long gone before I get out there in a couple of weeks to see her!

This Tropic of Strawberry tea is a new herbal tea of Celestial Seasonings. It is one of two. The other is, Acai Mango Zinger. I have one word for this Tropic of Strawberry tea.

Try it... I think you will really like it. :-)

Linguine with Fresh Salmon and Tomato Sauce

This is a great recipe if you love Salmon. There are such a mingling of other flavors that even if you are not over the top about Salmon, I think this dish would be okay. Salmon is such a good idea nutritionally that I am always glad to find recipes with it in them that aren't overpoweringly fishy, in hopes that my husband will like them. This one works, well!

Linguine with Fresh Salmon and Tomato SauceServes 4

8 ounces skinless salmon fillet, cut crosswise into 2” pieces
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups cubed tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup nonfat sour cream
8 ounces uncooked linguine

Sprinkle the salmon with the dill, salt (if using) and pepper.

Coat a large no-stick frying pan with no-stick spray. Add the salmon and cook over medium heat for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the pieces are cooked through. Remove from the pan and break into bite-size pieces.

In the same pan, combine the tomatoes, scallions, parsley, garlic and oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft. Stir in the sour cream and salmon. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling water until just tender. Drain. Serve topped with the sauce.

Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Source: Prevention's Healthy One-Dish Meals in Minutes

I don't use a "no-stick" pan. I don't even own one. I had a non-stick set some years ago.... let's just say, I'll never own another. I am very happy with the Belgique copper bottomed pots, pans, frying and sauteing skillets, and larger pots and double boiler that I have. The only other cookware I use is Le Creuset. I used my Le Creuset 3 1/2 quart Buffet Casserole for this recipe. I did use the cooking spray. I really like the Organic Olive Oil Pam. I use the Organic Olive Oil for savory recipes, and the All Natural Butter Flavor for sweet. Also, I hold off and wait to add the parsley about a minute or so before I add the sour cream and I skip the salt. I usually use whole wheat pasta... since it was a Salmon dish I went ahead with the regular semolina stuff. Turned out I did not have to. Jon, liked it.

I want to make sure that I mention that studies done on the nutritional value of salmon did not show any benefits for fish, salmon or any other type, that had been fried. Thought I’d better get that right out there. That yummy deep fried Cod or Walleye fillet at Culver's is not going to give you the nutritional value potential that you could get if it did not have that delicious fried breading on it. So if you eat that kind of thing and say, well at least it’s fish..... :-( not gonna fly. But if you don’t fry the salmon, here are a few of the nutritional benefits.

  • Salmon is low in calories and saturated fat. However, it is high in protein and has an amazing health producing fat, omega-3, which is an essential fatty acid. These fats are essential (hence the name) for our bodies to be healthy, yet we don’t produce it. Salmon are much higher in these fatty acids than their warm fish brothers. These fatty acids are an incredible benefit to the cardiovascular system. They cause the blood to be less likely to clot reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. They help in preventing erratic heart rhythms (a favorite feature of mine personally). This omega-3 in salmon affect the production of hormones and as a result keep the platelets in our blood from sticking together, creating an environment for better blood flow and anti-inflammatory effects. Omega-3 also stimulates the secretion of leptin. This wonderful little hormone helps to regulate food intake. So, salmon actually has been proven to help with obesity and so type 2 diabetics can seriously benefit from this cold water finned friend. These little wonders also are protective against cancer. It also increases heart rate variability (HRV) and this reduces the risk of arrhythmia and, or sudden death. My mom died like that right before my eyes. It was sudden and horrible all at the same time. PLEASE, GET YOUR OMEGA-3!
  • Salmon is high in niacin and vitaminB12. These are necessary for the chemical process required to process the fats in blood. Consequently, overall cholesterol is lowered.
  • Containing significant amounts of the trace mineral selenium, salmon is a cell repairer. Another cancer reducing benefit.
  • I could go on and on... salmon is a really beautiful thing! I will wrap this up just by saying that salmon also contains ample vitamin B6, magnesium and phosphorous. All yummys for your overall health.
Tomato:Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C, are a good source of vitamin A, potassium and iron. The red pigment is called lycopene. Lycopene is an amazing antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body that can damage cells. Recent studies show that lycopene has twice the antioxidant property as beta carotene. Harvard has done significant research on the lycopene in tomatoes and discovered that 10 servings per week reduced prostate cancer in men by 45 percent, and 7 servings per week of raw tomatoes lower the risk of developing rectal colon and stomach cancers by 60 percent. Nitrosamine is a compound that is formed in the human body and the most toxic carcinogen in tobacco smoke. Tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogienic acid. These compounds block the effects of nitrosamines and reduce the possibility of lung cancer, significantly.

Choose tomatoes that are vibrant shades of red. The redder, the better. The more color on your plate, the healthier (and tastier). This is an indication of high amounts of beta carotene and lycopene. Raw is great, but cooking tomatoes releases the lycopene which is located in the cell wall of the tomato. Some research indicates that cooking them in olive oil helps your body absorb the lycopene better. Other research has shown that the tomato and olive oil combination generated increased plasma antioxidant activity by around 20%. Did I mention we planted three varieties of tomatoes? Some will come in 45-50 days (Early Girl), some 70-75 days (Better Boy), and some 80 days (Beef Master) after germinating. :-)

I think herbs often get underestimated in their nutritional value. Think about it though. Herbs are, and have been successfully used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Parsley acts as a diuretic and can help kidney function as well as gout. It offers good antioxidant protection and counters anemia. It is best to use Parsley fresh; add it at the very end, right before serving. This will maximize its folic acid (folate) and vitamin C. Toss it in with your salad green. It adds color (unless it is a spinach salad) and bursts of flavor.

Olive Oil:
As much good press as Olive Oil has gotten there is probably no need to get wild and crazy here. But, I think there are a few things worth mentioning even if they are pretty common knowledge.
Olive oil is heart healthy, a sugar regulator, it will reduce the effects of arthritis and asthma, it has been proven a cancer inhibitor, and among other things it can help maintain lower body weight.

  • Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as vitamin E, chlorophyll and carotenoids. Because of the presence of the compound oleuropein, the LDL cholesterol does not oxidize and therefore can’t cause plaque to form on the artery walls. This significantly lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack.
  • Since olive oil substantially reduces the amount of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, or fats, in your blood, it helps reduce your risk for developing Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes.
  • By using the healthy fats in oIive oil our bodies produce natural anti-inflammatory agents. The awful affects of arthritis and asthma are considerably reduced as a result. Dementia and osteoporosis are not as noted in regions where olive oil is consumed in ample quantity.
  • An onogene is a gene that will turn an host cell into a cancer cell. This gene is associated with fast growing breast cancer tumors. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil, when it is used along with drug therapy, will reduce the affect of the oncogene. Prostate and endometrial cancers can be countered by the ingestion of olive oil as well. Consuming other fats has been linked to colon cancer. Preparing meat by cooking it in olive oil presents the wonderful antioxidant properties of olive oil to the degree that some research is beginning to show that the amount of carcinogens is reduced.I want to take just a second shed a little light on the grades of olive oil.
  • And now for the perk of the oil that most people don’t know about, but embrace once they discover. Olive oil can actually help you lose fat. The British Journal of Nutrition revealed that a “...significant loss of body weight and fat mas can be achieved without increasing physical activity and making only one change in eating habits; the substitution of olive oil for saturated fats.” Two groups with four men in each, ate similar foods for four weeks. The only difference was that one group ate more saturated fats than unsaturated. The other ate the same amount of calories as the first group, but their consumed fats were mostly monounsaturated fat, olive oil. When the four weeks was over, the men from the second group were lighter and had a lower body-fat index than the men that consumed the saturated fats. There are other research findings that back the results of this study up as well. Kinda wonderful, huh?
I want to take just a second shed a little light on the grades of olive oil.
  • Fine olive oil means the olives have gone through a second pressing.
  • Refined olive oil means that the olives have been pressed using chemicals and charcoal. Avoid these.
  • Pure olive oil is a blend of refined and virgin olive oil. Not a good choice.
  • Cold pressed simply means that heat was not used to extract the oil. Heat destroys antioxidants and other nutrients making cold pressed the best choice.
  • Extra virgin olive oil, EVOO for you Rachel Ray fans, comes from the first pressing of the olives and has the lightest flavor and the most antioxidant properties.
I use Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil that is First Cold Pressed. Store the your olive oil in a cool, dark place. Once opened, olive oil may also be refrigerated to increase shelf life.

If Salmon is on the menu, typically lemons are hanging about somewhere. As you can see, this is not a dish that you might squeeze lemons on. So, since my husband is not crazy about lemons... I made limeade. I took fresh blackberries (he loves red fruit of any kind) and froze them on a skewer, and then added English Mint leaves from my herb garden at the top. Although the limeade was very cold, the blackberries acted as ice cubes. I did not add any sparking water, but I did get the idea from Kelli over at her beautiful blog. And, the next thing off of her blog to do is make this Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layered Cake. Thanks Kelli! A few fresh strawberries and a wonderful loaf of Sunflower Nut bread...... Voila delicious and healthy summer dinner!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sweet Sunday's.

I love Sundays. Jon and I have gotten to the point that although we go to church, Sunday's are a day of rest for us. Typically, if it isn't done, it is not getting done on Sunday... it'll wait. We have spent years using Sunday afternoon to get those ever so important things done so that we can venture into Monday with less stress. Oh yeah... like that ever worked. Monday's had the weight and stress of Friday, squared. God's Word is clear on rest and taking a day for just that. Eventually, Jon and I got the idea. If God thought it was enough of a good idea for man to rest that He would not only put it in His Word... several times, but that He would model it for us Himself.......... maybe we should give it a whirl. Like all other obedience to the Lord, it had tremendously wonderful results.

Well, today we took the rest thing to the edge and then went right on over the responsible routine cliff. We slept in late enough that getting to church on time was impossible. Think watching a movie until nearly 2:00 a.m. had anything to do with that?? The way I saw it was that we had two options. There was no way to get even semi ready and make it on time... so that was not on the option list. The options were be grouchy and irritated because we'd blown church (my Pastor is a great teacher and gives really good stuff to live by and so I really don't like missing)... or go with the flow, shake it off, make the most of it and enjoy the rest of the morning, and not let the enemy steal my joy. I opted for the latter.

I got a taste (no pun intended) this morning of why unchurched folks don't mind missing church. It is so relaxing and peaceful to take a slow Sunday morning pace and just kick back and enjoy the time. I'll bet that old saying, "Sunday afternoon driver" got its start in that very setting. Maybe I should have titled this post, "Sweet & Slow Sunday's". So just what do you do when you are "skipping" church? What any Brit wanna be would do. Make scones!!, tea, coffee for anyone preferring it, get out the lemon curd, black raspberry spreadable fruit and some whipped cream cheese (fresh out of Devonshire cream and wasn't gonna complicate the morning by running to the store). Yum!! currant scones. Did I say, YUM!!? I have been trying to develop a scone recipe that would meet British approval. I have to say, most that I have had don't do that, and in fact are really pretty dry, heavy and tasteless. Scones I have gotten usually taste like poorly made biscuit mix biscuits, at best. I managed to make a really decent scone several years ago, but it was never too great a few hours old. The ones I made this morning actually held up to the test of time. They were better first thing out of the oven, but by the end of the day they were still moist, flaky and flavorful. I may have finally gotten my basic scone recipe where I want it. Now, for some branching out! I'll not be oversleeping on Sunday's however to venture down Specialty Scone Lane. Please forgive me for not offering a recipe here, I have been contemplating a business that might include a little baking.

A little later, my youngest daughter called and we had a wonderful chat. I will be seeing her and her children soon. It's been way too long (she lives in Texas) and I am very excited about that. While I was putting the scones together, Jon watched and I listened to a sermon preached by one of our favorite preachers (also in Texas). The sermon was on love and how important it is to "walk" in love. It was a great sermon.

Lessons from today: Keep your joy! Diligently pursue goals. Walk in love, always. And, get to bed at a decent hour!

God bless... and good night.

P.S. The scones became moist and flaky on the inside, slightly tender crisp on the outside, and all of the original flavor returned when I heated them up the next morning in a high oven for a few minutes. I am very excited about this. \o/ I think we have a winner here.


Throughout my blog I refer to "Kim" and her website named, "nuttnhoney". By linking over to "" you have had the opportunity to go to her homemaking "coffeeandamuffin" blogspot, and her other blog, "The Occasional Stamper". A short while ago, Kim shut down her stamping blog and as of this morning, "coffeeandamuffin" is gone. If you never got over there, you missed something. And, I will among others, miss her blogging. But, like everyone else I wish her the best in everything she is now pursuing. God's best to you, Kim! :-)

Now, if you are so inclined you can still go to her website. She will leave that open until, June 30th. I highly recommend you stop by and spend some time there. Great gardening, meal planning, bulk cooking, frugal living tips and recipes are available there. And, if you are a rubber stamping, card making fan........ you really should look at her galleries and tutorials. They are AMAZING!

I will leave the link to her website on my list of blog links until, June 30th.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Cute Chick is smart cookie!

This is Isabella.... we all call her, Belle. She is my granddaughter. When her mom was growing up she had a friend named, Jessie. Jessie has always been very smart, very pretty, very talented and loved to perform. That is exactly was this little chickie is like. Smart, pretty, talented and loves the limelight. She shines in it!

These pictures are from her musical/play that was performed at the end of this school year. As if this weren't enough of a performance... the real performance was her day to day diligence throughout the school year. She won the music and gym award for the year. And, it did not stop there. Next year, Belle is going to be involved in the gifted and talented program. She was on the Principal's Honor Roll. None of us were shocked... but oh my are we ever so proud! More Nana pride? You'd better believe it!!

I am so very proud of all of my grandchildren... aren't we all? But just for today I wanted to honor, Belle. Congratulations!!! Belly Boop!

You know though...... I was wondering if the musical next year could be with a Caribbean theme. Perhaps then, Belle could be a Flamingo. Wouldn't the pink be nice on this blog?? :-)

Thanks for being you, Belle!

Monday, June 4, 2007

How busy is too, busy?

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else- we are the busiest people in the world. Eric Hoffer

I don't often draw from the quotes of scholars and philosophers, but the quotes you read in this post both express my heart and line up with scriptural principles.

There was much work to do in our yard this spring. Hard work!... and a lot of it. With the exception of putting in a few day lilies, planting a few veggie seeds, and spreading a little mulch, we are done. It has been a toilsome few weeks, but oh so very worth it. Now, it is on to finishing some remodeling inside. That should be a 4-6 week adventure. The physical labor may not be as hard as the out of doors work, but it will be time consuming. In addition to the everyday cooking and cleaning, swimming three times a week, maintaining family and friend relationships, and all of the other everyday activities, things around here have been "busy". Too busy! Why "too" busy? Because the one thing that is the most important to me has been pushed to the side, pushed back, "scheduled" in and taken off the "schedule", and for the most part simply let go. And that, is unacceptable!

Spending time alone with the Lord is so very important. I am not talking about reading a verse of Scripture or a little devotion out of a devotional, and then saying something like... "Thank you for today. Help me get through it and I wish we had more time together but You know how much I have to get done. Love You, Lord." And then go on about the day. I am talking about the kind of time you spend with someone that you love. You get some tea, grab your Bible, a notebook and sit down to really share what is on your heart and then listen for His words to you. Read where ever it is in the Word that you are reading that day and let the Father speak to you through His written Word, too. Relaxed and relational. Unhurried conversation. Excited expectation to hear what He has to say to you. Starting your day by giving the Lord the first fruit of it. Receiving that mercy that is new every morning.

For the last few weeks, I have felt pressured to get to this blog. I was allowing my time with the Lord to slip and if that was going, the blogging was not happening. So, since I knew the blog was something I wanted to, and felt led to do, and my time with the Lord is so precious to me and they were both slipping....... I had to ask myself where or what the problem was. The answer seemed so simple and I was a little surprised that I did not see it right away. The cards.

Card making is a hobby for me. Let's stop a minute and just define "hobby".

: a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation Webster; current.
Any favorite object; that which a person pursues with zeal or delight. Noah Webster, 1828.

For relaxation! Some time ago I decided to down size my craft closet. I have loved paper and color (crayons, paint, ink, etc.) since I can remember. I've always had a desire to make cards. When I discovered rubber stamps, craft ink pads with such an array of color and texture, water color pencils, chalk and designer paper, I'd found my niche. It was easy to unload the craft closet and start investing in card making supplies. In the past I've had a plethora of crafts going on. I am so very content with just making cards. They are so relaxing for me and give me a way to express myself to others. Though shared with others, it really is a very personal thing. It gives me a time and reason to pray for those I am making a card for. It is better than therapy could ever be. It takes me into myself and it gives me a place to also express myself. It's quiet and has so much meaning... even the funny and zany cards are so good for me. And, when I get feedback from people that are blessed by the love sent in my cards, ....suffice it to say the blessing is double for me to know I was able to do a little something that touched another person.

However, the card making has become the very antithesis of what it was meant for. (i.e., peace, enjoyment, creativity, expression, and relaxation... serious stress relief sometimes) A little over a week ago, I considered boxing my card making supplies up (that would be a lot of boxes) and ship them to my grand daughter. That was when reality set in. It was not the card making that was a problem.... It was what I had allowed it to become.

I first became acquainted with blogging because I had put in a Google search for ideas on card making. That is when I found Kim's website. She has gallery after gallery on that website. It is incredible. Kept me going for quite a while. Like over a year. :-) From there I found Split Coast Stampers.... and on and on it went from there. So, the mother and bulk of my blogging experience has been card making blogs. So, once I started blogging I jumped in doing "challenges". Some I posted, some not. Some I tried variations
of, some I stuck to. Only a few of the cards I've made since this blog began have been posted. I began feeling pressure to make my cards better, to make them more like everyone else... practice.... strive to do better... practice... strive to do more. What a nightmare of a roller coaster! I began to really dislike it, but I was compelled to press in and do more... do better...... That is not a HOBBY!! That is compulsive behavior that could easily be categorized as addictive and counter productive. I don't want my cards to look like everyone else. I will get better as I make them. But, better means expressing my style and in a relaxed way. Card making is to be an extension of me, an asset to my life. NOT!!! control my waking ours and become my life. I have put my card making back into proper perspective and it is now mine again to enjoy. Oh, and just so you know... the last several cards I made were awful and so hard to make. They were an extension of me alright, an uptight mess! The zeal and delight were gone! So, this is no longer a blog that features cards. Will I ever post a card I make? I suppose I might. But, that will never again be a driving force for this blog.

Driving force??? So why blog? Well I have to say, this whole nightmare roller coaster thing is my own fault. I rarely begin any project or adventure in my life anymore, without giving it adequate forethought. And, if the situation calls for it... and sometimes if it does not... I
don't start things without a mission statement... written down. I had some ideas of what this blog would be about, but I never firmed those ideas up, and I never wrote a mission statement down for this blog. You'd think if I was going to start putting things I have to say out there, I'd have a purpose. Well, I did... and I do. I am in the process of writing that mission statement down. I may never post it, but I will give you a little idea of what it will contain. I actually did state why I started this blog in a previous post. If you don't want to go back to that link, here is the conclusion sentence in a nutshell:

So, the blog was birthed out of a desire to share any good thing the Lord gives me, with others. i.e. my cards, what the Lord is teaching me, good recipes, nutritional tips, happy events.. etc.

While the card making is not going to be a driving force, perhaps just an occasional accent to the blog, there are other things I did want this to be about. Yes, good recipes and nutritional tips. Yes, happy events. Yes, even gardening and household things. But mostly, the goodness of God and what He is doing in my life. I want a place to express all of those things. And this blog is a really wonderful place to do all of that.

And, I am not shutting down this blog. I am going to share those things I set out to share. I hope you enjoy it.

When are we too busy? Like Eric Hoffer said, when we neglect that which we are placed here to do. My addition to that is, when what we do is a bondage and not a joy. I find that when I am doing what it is I am to do, I am joyful. When I'm not... I feel captive. Let freedom RING!

Just about the time I had this all put back into perspective, one of my girls sent me the pictures of her daughters above. One picture was of the grand daughter on the piano, and the one of that cute little number in the pink hat at the top of this post. The piano picture made me realize how important it is to do that which we love. And the pink hat cutie (please take a moment here and scroll up to take another peek at that beautiful child) reminded me how important it is to live without stress and be ourselves... be free. That little girl does that better than anyone I know. Oh Lord, never let that change in her.

I have three projects that the Lord has laid on my heart. I am thoroughly enjoying all three of them. One is a short and easy little thing... should be done in a day or two. The other two are entwined together and could really be considered one project with two sections, I suppose. Anyway, not combining card making and blogging has opened so much time for me to be about these wonderful adventures the Lord has offered me. Oh, and there is another project that is really long term and requires day by day diligence. I am LOVING working on that one.

With things back in their proper place and with myself focused, I am enjoying life again. Please stop by.... things are gonna get good around here in my little piece of the blogosphere.

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.