Friday, December 21, 2012

New Things for a New Year

It has most assuredly been a long long time since I have stopped in here to touch much has been going on and as a result, I am launching a new blog.  I may still share a little here from time to time, that is yet to be determined.  My plans are to have my new baby up and running and fully functioning with the beginning of the new year.  I may post a little between now and then as time or leading allows, in any case, I wanted to formally invite you to visit my new home on the web.  Testimony in Progress will be a place where real reigns and sharing some of the hard things that God has graciously walked and loved me through is part of the fabric of my purpose. I want to dig deeper and work with you toward helping each other find healing and truth and most of all victory over what the enemy seeks to steal kill and destroy in our lives! I hope there will be something there that will keep you coming back - I miss you and I have so MUCH I want to share with you.  God is moving and you know how exciting and unexpected things can become in those circumstances.  Do come see me.....and say hello, as always, your comments and notes are a huge blessing! 
In the meantime, my heartfelt wishes to you and yours that this CHRISTmas is filled with the goodness and glory of our precious Lord and savior and that your time with family and friends is treasured and plentiful!
Merry CHRISTmas!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sheepherder's Bread

I wanted to share one of my staple recipes with you today. My favorite, tried and true bread recipe. This is the one I make over and over, for sandwiches, toast or sliced thick with butter to pair with a steaming hot bowl of homemade soup or stew.   There is nothing like fresh from the oven home baked bread and wow does it make the house smell g-double o- d good!
This recipe makes four loaves and I always like to bless someone with a loaf whenever I make it.  Last week it was my hairdresser, who was planning on BLT sandwiches for dinner that night - I love when things work out that way!  Wonderboy's music teacher, The Principal's co-workers and several neighbors have been happy recipeints as well.  If you are local let me know if you'd like a loaf and it can most assuredly be arranged ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                             Sheepherder's Bread  

3 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil (olive/safflower/coconut oil or combination - anything goes ;-))
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons yeast
9 cups flour
(I typically use 1/2 unbleached white and 1/2 fresh ground prairie gold wheat)
2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine the water, oil, honey, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.  Stir to dissolve the yeast.  Allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes (sponge) to proof the yeast.  Add 7-8 cups of flour.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead.  Add flour as needed (dough gets very sticky).  Knead for 10 minutes (by hand - if you have a Bosch or other mixture, knead for 8 minutes).  Put dough into a greased bowl to rise.  Cover with a clean towel.  Let rise until double.  Punch dough down.  Let rise until almost double.  Punch down again.  Form into loaves or rolls.  Let rise until double.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tests done. Remove from pans and place on cooling racks, brush crust with melted butter.
*For raisin bread, I add 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 1 cup raisins(soak in warm water and drain and pat dry prior to adding in.
**  I buy the plastic bowl covers ( we call them party hats here) that come in 3 sizes at The Dollar Tree and use these instead of dishtowels - they work great if you put them on the bowl to rise in the oven with the oven light one and then one on each pan after you form into loaves.

This can easily be made into dinner rolls as well.

Yields 4 loaves or 2 loaves and 1 1/2 dozen rolls.

Do you have a stand by favorite bread you make?  Let me know if you try this recipe and how it turns out for you.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Garden Food.....Tomato Corn Salad

The garden has started to produce and the meals we are eating are reflecting the bounty we are enjoying.  Most meals around our house lately include a plate of sliced tomatoes and  cucumbers - so good with a sprinkle of salt or pepper!  Last night I tried a new recipe I had seen on Pinterest for Buttermilk Grilled Chicken and wanted something to go with it.  This Tomato Corn Salad was just the ticket.  I shared some with my neighbor and she called to say she wanted the recipe, that her 14 yr.old grandson was drinking the juice from the bowl!

Tomato Corn Salad

3 good sized tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tabelspoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups fresh corn (about 9 ears of corn) - I used frozen
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Optional - chopped olives, sweet bell/hot peppers or celery to taste

In a large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. In a large skillet, saute corn in oil until tender longer fro fresh, for frozen just until thawed. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in mustard. Add to vegetable mixture; mix well, toss to coat. Refrigerate briefly or serve immediately using a slotted spoon.  Enjoy! 

What's cooking from your garden? Do you have some tried and true favorite 'garden food' recipes?  Please share them in the comments!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Coconut (You Choose) Curry

Do you love curry?  There was a time when curry kind of scared me until a friend made a pot of chicken curry one night while I was fortunate enough to be visiting and I was hooked.  I have tweaked this recipe and made it many times with consistently good results.  An easily flexible recipe - chicken, shrimp, veggies, beef you choose.  This one was chicken, but the shrimp is really our house favorite.

Coconut (You Choose) Curry

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 handful frozen peas
2-3 sweet peppers chopped in largish chunks
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger,  about a 1-inch peeled piece
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoon curry powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can coconut milk, light or regular - I use Chaokoh brand Thai - delish!
2 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/4 cup water
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

If shrimp is your protein of choice a try this simple marinade, toss the shrimp with the 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/8 tsp cayenne and juice from 1 lemon in a resealable large bag or in a bowl. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until rippling and hot. Saute onion, pepper chunks and frozen peas 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, ginger, salt, garlic, coriander, turmeric and curry powder. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is very fragrant and the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add undrained tomatoes to the pot and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Add the coconut milk, stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the shrimp and any accumulated juices from the marinade. If using shrimp bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled, lightly pink and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Dissolve arrowroot powder in water stir in to pot and remove from heat to thicken.  Stir in the cilantro. Wonderful served over rice or potatoes or all by itself with some yummy naan bread.

This is one of my favorite recipes in my 'One Pot Wonder' repertoire.  Do you have a favorite go to 'One Pot Wonder'?  I'd love for you to share it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mountain Moving Wanted

I read in a book (which one escapes me) a few years ago that if you pray for something consistently everyday for 6 weeks you will see God move in that area.  I have a problem, I take it to God and He answers my prayer.  This is the theory of how it is supposed to work right?  And truly, I believe that it does work just that way - with one cavet - we have to be faithful to take it to God.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I for one have a hard time with the consistency part of the equation.  I am so faithful to pray fervently when the battle is in full swing, or when something is new, but as I grow battle weary or something moves to the status of old news I, sadly,  admittedly lose my fervor.  My follow through is lacking to put it plain.So...I have a problem or in an effort to speak life over it, an opportunity....a big one ......and without God there is no way through it.  I need for God to move in a mighty way.  In turning this over in my mind recently and trying to figure out how to 'fix it' in my own might I recalled the 6 week challenge I had read about in the past (if you know the source - please help a gal out and post it in the comments - merci).  I have 6 weeks, God willing and in this particular situation only good things to gain.  By posting about it, I am seeking to be both accountable and encouraging.  August 9th, 2012 is 6 weeks from today.  Won't you join me in this?  We all have big needs or know someone who does,  but we serve a big God who loves us in big ways.  Big needs are everywhere today - pick one and pray with me for the next 6 weeks....daily.
This song by Rita Springer stirred me to the depths the first time I ever heard it....lately it has become an anthem of sorts.....

He can move my mountain, He can move your mountain too......the anticipation of mountain moving, share it with me won't you?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Let Them Eat Pie

I hope a relaxing and blessed Father's Day was enjoyed by one and all!!

It has become tradition in our home that if you are being celebrated you have the honor of picking the menu.  Yesterday being Father's Day was no exception.  The Principal is always so accommodating about what he wants but when June issue of Southern Living arrived and he eye balled this pie recipe it was instantly decided that this would be Father's Day dessert.    Peanut Butter-Banana Icebox Pie - wow look out hips here I come!!  It was easy, didn't require heating the kitchen up, was made ahead and was a huge hit with the men folk.  WonderBoy was quick to deem it 'a keeper'.

 We began our fun a day early with a great day Saturday in Manchester, TN Letterboxing and hiking at Old Stone Fort Archaeological State Park. This was our first time at this park but probably won't be our last.  The trail is a short one - just 1 1/4 miles but boasts 3 pretty nice water fall to play and frolic in.  There is also a museum with some interesting resources to learn about the Indian mounds that this park is structured around.  Homeschooling is always in progress even during summer break!
We had limited success in our letterboxing efforts - we searched for 4 boxes and found only 2 of them - both in cemeteries ......which for some weird reason seems to be where we always end up at some point when we are out adventuring.  This one was neat - an old family cemetery with some very old stones under a glorious magnolia tree.  It has been fenced in and was a short hike off the road in the woods.  If not for letterboxing we would never have known it was there. was your weekend....did you do anything special?  Any fabulous dessert recipes to share? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gardening Part 2 - Strawberry Security

We have attempted a harvest of strawberries for several years now, but every year without fail the sweet birds {gnashing of teeth} have beat us to each and every ripe delicious morsel.  SO...this year we got smart and brought in some reinforcements.  We knew if we wanted to really enjoy our strawberry patch we needed strawberry security.  We put our thinking caps on and The Principal designed a feathered friend proof enclosure that would allow God's good rain and sunshine in but keep those sweet little birds out!
Our strawberry patch is a permanent fixture built into one of our 4 square foot gardens, so all we had to do was give it a lid and we were ready for strawberry picking - fingers only - no beaks allowed.
Using some 2 x 2 pressure treated lumber, nylon mesh window screen and two 4 inch hinges our problem has been solved once and for all!  The Principal among his many talents has admirable carpentry skills and so a lovely spring afternoon, his skills and a few supplies produced this......
It is working out beautifully, sun and rain in, birds out!  To pick or fertilize The Principal installed a handle on the back side to easily lift the top and the hinges make getting it open for access easy peasy! 
We have been harvesting strawberries free of beak holes!  We have 2 types of plants and have a 2nd batch just starting to come in....yum.  
Here's a little Strawberry Trivia to wow your friends and family with while you enjoy some of the delicious treats that starwberry season brings...
Strawberry Trivia
  • The average strawberry has 200 seeds
  • More than 40 varieties of strawberries have been identified in the wild. Wild strawberries are fairly small in size and it wasn't until the 18th century that attempts to produce larger berries were sucessful.
  • 1 acre of land planted with strawberries will produce 50,000 pounds of fruit.
  • Fesh strawberries were once used as toothpaste as the juice cleaned discolored teeth.
  • There is a centuries old custom that if you break a double strawberry in half and share it with someone else they will fall in love.
  • Strawberries were once avoided by pregnant women because it was believed that their children would be born with 'strawberry' birth marks.
  • If all the strawberries produced in California in one year were laid berry to berry they would wrap around the world 15 times.
  • Strawberries are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside.
  • Strawberries have a long-dated history of medical uses, the Romans for instance used them to alleviate symptoms of fainting, kidney stones, inflammation, diseases of the blood, liver and spleen, throat infections, bad breath, attacks of gout, melancholy and fever.
  • In some places of Bavaria, country folk practice a spring ritual of tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to wood elves. The legend states that the elves, who love strawberries, will offer their gratitude producing healthy calves and an abundance of milk
  • In Belgium there's a museum entirely dedicated to strawberries
  • Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States and every province of Canada.
  • The strawberry plant belongs to the same family of roses, genus Fragraria, together with other fruits such as apples and plums. The name of the genus comes from the Old Latin word for "fragrant". In modern Italian, the word for strawberry is still "fragola".
What is your favorite way to enjoy strawberry season?Wild strawberries are all fairly small in size, and it wasn't until the 18th century that attempts to produce strawberry plants with larger berries were successful

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