Monday, August 30, 2010

The Hand of God

Saturday morning I came to this Psalm in my regular Bible reading time. I am currently reading a psalm-a-day plus reading a chapter or two in Ephesians. I once again poured over this most beloved of psalms and found great refreshment. I remember thinking: whenever I get something very encouraging from scripture, God is sure to bring it to mind all during the following week, almost to emphasize it or underline it in my thinking.
Well, it didn't take long. Our dear friends the Barkers were here for the week-end, and the insurance man went to the store early Sunday morning for some more green beans. On his way home, he found himself listening to an old Lutheran preacher from the 1950's on the AM radio station ESPN (usually all sports, and at this time of year, all football!) The old preacher was dishing out some wonderful theology regarding, you guessed it, Psalm 23. The insurance man didn't know about my reading it the day before, so at breakfast he began to tell us of finding the unusual programming and what he had heard. We all chuckled when I said that the Lord had put the program there just for him to hear, and would probably bring Psalm 23 to mind some more.
We got to church, and almost the first thing in the service, Psalm 23 appeared on the screen, with our worship Pastor making some remarks on it and having us recite it. I got a few elbows in my ribs from both sides.
Last night as I crawled into bed, I thought: how can anyone NOT believe there is a God? His hand moves so very obviously in the everyday lives of people. His hand is there for all to see, in all our smallest details, quietly and wonderfully leading us in His paths of righteousness.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Granola

I have several recipes for granola. They're very different from each other. One is very decadent, that comes out in great clumps and is great for eating alone as a snack. I have a couple of other ones that I use to make a more generic granola that can be sprinkled on yogurt and other things. I just tried a new one that I expected to be very similar to one of these. To my surprise, it was different. And we loved it. So here it is:

8 cups regular rolled oats
1 1/2 cups ground flax seed (flaxmeal)
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
1 cup canola oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine oats, flax seed, oat bran, almonds, and pecans.
Stir together salt, brown sugar, syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir to coat. Spread mixture on two baking sheets. Bake until browned and toasty, about 20-25 minutes. Stir the mixture once halfway through cooking.

We served this over vanilla yogurt with some strawberries sliced on the top yesterday for breakfast.

What I liked about this recipe: It was simpler to put together than any of my other recipes. It's more like the granola you would buy as cereal because it's nice and crunchy. Great flavor. For a little variety in morning menu, this is a keeper.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Painting Projects

I mentioned earlier that Kendall and I, while she was here, got busy on a few painting projects. First, we had an old bench out front that had been given to us by some neighbors when they moved away. The insurance man had stripped and refinished the wood slats, but they very quickly degenerated due to our harsh sun. I was about ready to toss it and find another, when I had the idea to paint the wood to match our house. The insurance man kindly took the bench apart again, and Kendall and I first applied a coat of primer. It took a very long time to we put them out in the sun. Then, we gave both sides a good coat of interior semi-gloss paint.
Kendall was a real beaver when it came to painting. She was always out in the garage checking to see if it was ready for some more. She spent several hours one afternoon getting all the spots painted in the 'cracks'. After drying, the insurance man put it all together...

and this is the lovely result! I really liked the black ironwork, so I'm glad we found a way to keep it and make it usable once again.

The black metalwork features roses... so it must have been meant to be.

Our next project was our shed out back. The trim was in bad need of some paint. Also, we had moved some storage items to make a new 'sitting area' on the garden side of the shed, and I was itching to get the rough lumber painted there. Kendall and I brought out our ipods, and while listening to music, painted away. It was a really fun project to do together.

This is my new sitting area for now. We painted the supports and trim white, although the two forward beams look yellow. They really are white, I guess it was just the light right then. The insurance man has an old tool bench top that he has been saving for a rainy day for some years. I am appropriating it, and after he puts legs under it, I am going to put it out here for a potting table. Kendall and I also went shopping and found a new birdhouse to hang under there, a small wind chimes, a new side table, and a couple of lanterns to enjoy after dark.

I liked the look of the white so much, we decided to paint all the shed trim white, and with my new 'star', the shed is reborn. Now, the insurance man has a new project, which is to make a covered storage area on the other side for all our misplaced items. Never a dull moment.

I love painting projects, because there is almost instant gratification. Beauty in a hurry!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"I bow my knees before the Father (and ask),
that He would grant you,
according to the riches of His glory,
to be strengthened with power
through His Spirit in the inner man;
so that
Christ may dwell in your hearts
through faith,
and that you,
being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the true believers,
what is the breadth and length
and height and depth (of Christ's love)
and to KNOW
the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
and that you may be filled up
to all the fullness of God.
To HIM be the glory to all generations,
forever and ever, Amen.
St Paul to the Ephesian Believers: Chapter 3 verses 14 to the end.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We hosted a 'Supper Club' from our Church last Friday night. There were nine of us including three couples and three singles. I found some roses for $7.99 a dozen at Fred Meyer, and bought the last pack of white ones. They made a great centerpiece after being cut down and placed in a depression ware cookie jar. I was inspired by my viewing of place settings at our fair, so made up a simple menu for the table.
This was how the table looked just waiting for the guests to arrive.

I only had eight goblets and cups, so used some of my depression ware for the ninth setting. Each napkin was wrapped in a little bit of old tatting from my grandmother, and a piece of blooming peppermint from the garden. It is always a lot of fun for me to set the table...I remember enjoying it even as a child.

After the guests arrived, we enjoyed a little pre-dinner visiting in the garden.

And the insurance man enjoyed a little visiting around the snacks I had set out. It was a great evening of relaxed, joyous sharing together.
On the 'name the dog' front, we have several name suggestions now:
  • Gallahad
  • Sable
  • Fred
  • Buddy
  • Taffy
  • Licorice
  • Snickers
  • Shadow
  • Nigel
  • Pal
  • Greatheart

We are still waiting on a suggestion from Calvin, and Doris is trying them out. I'll let you know which one she takes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One guess done...

By the way, the insurance man has guessed 'Buddy' for the new pup. Thought that I would throw that out there, so no one would choose that one.

Name Contest

Yesterday, we came home to find Doris waiting for us, with a new addition to her family. This adorable little pup was in her arms. She has adopted HIM from the Pound. He is 7 1/2 weeks old, came from a litter of six, and is a black lab mix. He looks a little sad in the above photo, but believe me he is a rollicking, energetic, bundle of fun. He has white 'boots' on his back feet, and white tips on his front feet, and a patch of white on his breast. He will make a great companion for Doris on her ranch.
Doris wanted to run a little contest on the name the pup. So, anyone who has an idea for a name for him, please comment back to us, and Doris will choose the winner. Sam, Will, Ben, Cal and Millie will all probably have a name choice. They do such a great job of naming their toads, frogs and snakes.

He's still pretty small, but that's the best time to get and train them. I think Doris will be very good and patient with him in training. I'll post a few photos in the next few months so you can see him grow!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baby Frogs

My mother and father-in-law are here for a doctor appointment. They recently went camping with friends from their church, at beautiful Delintment Lake, pictured above. Also recently, our grandson and their great-grandson William just posted a blog about all the toads and frogs they have captured this season for their terrarium. While they were camping at Delintment, Mom spotted hundreds, if not thousands, of baby frogs along the shoreline. She said you couldn't put your foot down without stepping on one. Of course she thought right away of Sam, Will, Ben and Cal, and wished they could be there to see it. Since West Virginia is a fair distance away, of course that is not possible. So she did the next best thing and took a photo to share. So, I am sharing it for them and with you.
Just one of the thousands, making it's way from the water up to the shore, in great- grandpa's hands. Isn't he or she cute??

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer's Bounty

I'm enjoying the bounty of the season on my table these days. The flowers in the middle are actually from my husband. On the sides are Queen Anne's Lace that the children brought to me. I picked up some local plums and pears at the Farmer's Market and they beautify the table as they sit and wait to ripen. A very bountiful time of year.
I visited the Farmer's Market again today. I was able to get my first local peaches. Happy day. I've been getting rhubarb there whenever I can. It's nice to be able to get the things I can't grow myself at the moment. I love gardening about as much as I love cooking. Not surprisingly, I'm most excited about growing vegetables, fruits and herbs. For now, I have just herbs in my own garden. At my friend's house, where there's plenty of space, we have together grown potatoes, onions, cabbages and some other things. Tomatoes will be coming. I fill in with the Farmer's Market. We're eating our fill of sauteed swiss chard, fresh green beans, beets, etc., all grown locally. Delicious. What's growing where you are?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Grilling

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: GRILLED PORK CHOPSI wrote about these pork chops last year, but didn't include the recipe, so I decided after grilling to do it now. Julie gave me this recipe last year, and it is a really good one. I usually brown my pork chops then put them in the oven for tenderness. But in the summer grilling is better when you don't want to turn on your oven. This recipe still turns out fairly tender (better than plain grilled chops) and really tasty.
Grilled Pork Chops
4 Pork Chops Bone-in or Boneless (I only use two chops and a little less brine)
Dissolve 6 Tablespoons of salt and 6 Tablespoons of sugar in 3 quarts cold water. Divide the solution between two gallon zip-lock bags and add two chops to each bag. Seal and soak for at least one hour, or up to overnight. When ready to grill, remove chops and discard liquid. Pat the chops dry with a paper towel. Rub on the spice rub on both sides of chops and salt.
Spice Rub
1/2 Tablespoon Cumin 1/2 Tablespoon of Curry
1/4 Tablespoon Chili Powder Freshly ground Pepper
1/4 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
Preheat the grill. Sear the pork chops on the hot grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Leave 1 burner medium-high, turn the other two to low, put the lid down and cook the chops 7-9 minutes, or until the chops are at 135 degrees. Remove the chops to a platter and cover. Let them sit and rest for 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy!
Here are the chops all brined and spiced up before grilling. I hope you try this, because it's easy and really good.
As most of you know, Julie has no camera right now and is taking a short break. I have my granddaughter Kendall here for the week, and tomorrow we are heading off to Crescent Lake for our Church Family Camp. We have been busy so far this week with painting projects. We are painting our shed and trim out back, and a wooden bench out front. Kendall loves to paint, and to do projects. In between that we are shopping and getting treats like Cold Stone Ice Cream. It's so much fun having her here. Next week I'll post some photos of our projects. Have a great week-end.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Homemade Ranch Dressing

It's time for another recipe! My camera is broken, but I happen to have a picture of my homemade ranch dressing, so it made the choice pretty easy for me this week.My friend Jocelyn made this and I asked her for the recipe. Like the first recipe I posted, this is actually a dry mix that you make and store and add the wet ingredients when you're ready. I haven't tried very hard, but I've never found a bottle of ranch dressing at the supermarket that has become my favorite. When my friend, Jocelyn, served this homemade version, it tasted so fresh and I loved that I could mix it up anytime I wanted some. So this has become my recent favorite. It makes certain raw vegetables a lot more appealing. :)
Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
(makes 12 batches)
2/3 cup dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup finely crushed saltine crackers
1/3 cup minced onion
3 T. garlic salt
2 T. onion salt
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. pepper
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
To make dressing: Combine 1 T. of mix, 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 cup of buttermilk.
I have mayonnaise and buttermilk on hand all of the time, so I love how easy it is for me to have dressing in a flash. I hope some of you will enjoy it too. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A wonderful use for the old bottles

I got six of the old bottles together of various colors, and filled each with water. Then I raided our daisy bushes for a single daisy for each. I added in a pretty pink rose in the center and I am loving it.
The first photo shows the light in the glass bottles better, but I also took this one with the shade pulled to better see the flowers. Hard to get a photo that really shows how pretty this is.

That old purple flask is really a stunner! The neck is so narrow I could hardly get in the rose stem. It is old glass and hand shaped I think. A new way to appreciate my flowers and the old bottles.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Millie and Macy

We visited my parents graves on 'Decoration Day', when Julie and her family and Joy and her family were all here to join JoAnn, the insurance man and myself. The graveyard is so beautiful that week-end with all the American flags, veterans flags from the various branches of military service, as well as fresh and silk flowers. We decorated their graves with a pretty bouquet of blue silk flowers to last a little longer than fresh. The girls just had to see if those pretty flowers smelled sweet! My parents would have loved to see the precious scene beside their graves.

Monday, August 2, 2010

County Fair Time

Saturday afternoon and evening we took Doris and enjoyed our local Fair. We looked at all the animals, including rabbits, poultry, sheep, pigs, cattle and horses. Maybe a few extras thrown in.
We watched our local rodeo, featuring cowboys from Oregon, Washington and western Idaho. The insurance man was happy with a big bag of Kettle Corn.

We enjoyed 'fair food' which is always a treat. We even found a shady spot on a few rocks by the canal that runs through the fairgrounds, to eat.

I always enjoy looking at all the photography, the flowers and veggies, and the sewing and crafts. This year a new category was added, place settings. I photographed a few of my favorites. The one above won best of show. There are two place mats, a charger under the brown and white china, and several lace doily additions. I noticed that there had to be a hand-made menu at each setting.

The place mats were actually very large (larger than usual), and just hemmed material. This setting was really pretty without being quite as elaborate as the last one. Since the fair opened on Wednesday, the roses were already gone by the time I took this photo.

This ones for you Mom! Set by a cow-lover for sure. Very cheery and cute. There were all varieties of place settings, and it motivated me to come home and add some beauty to our everyday meals.