Monday, April 30, 2012

Awesome Creator, Awesome Creation






I never feel closer to God then when I am at the sea.  The feeling of love, awe and gratefulness is so overwhelming that often I can do nothing but stare in wonder.  Such an amazing creation, such a fantastic gift He has given us in life.  To see the waves crash, to see the birds thrive, to see each grain of sand placed at my feet.  It is difficult to put into words the heart moving, body gripping thrill I have to be one of God's children when I am enjoying something so beautiful as the sea.  Thank you Lord for all you have given us, all you have shared with us and all you have done for us.  We are often ungrateful and unworthy, yet as the amazing Father You are, You love us and forgive us.  For this I am grateful beyond words, but you can see into my heart.  Take a look, it is overflowing with your love and compassion Lord and for this I am truly thankful.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Emily loves to fly a kite and what a joy to watch her giggle and run as the gentle sea breeze lifts the kite behind her.
Jake and Alex on a mission to make drip castles before their hands freeze.
Love the beach at night and love these people!


Can you tell that I take a lot of pictures?  My kids are very experienced....


Sand Serpent built, now time to take a ride!
Boys try to conquer the Sand Serpent.


And now that photos are taken, time to DESTROY the Sand Serpent!






Bob was so into the Hunger Games that he could not put the book down.
Love this face
Hey, that's me!  Frisbee is not my game...
No matter how many times I dive past Philly, I have to take a photo of the skyline.  A city skyline is an awesome testament to man's creative and intelligent nature.  I don't think Philly was built by chance anymore then I was.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beach or Bust!

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." - (Psalm 143:8)







Friday, April 27, 2012

Zucchini Cakes


Twelve years ago today I was joyously and painfully in the midst of 13 hours of labor with my first child Alex.  Alex has always been a source of laughter and compassion and always amazes us with his mind, wit and understanding.   As he embarks on teenhood, I revel at the maturity he has developed while still enjoying a hug from his Mom or laughing at a good fart joke.  His voice has changed, he continues to grow into adult sized clothing and he and his friends like *gasp* girls, but all while watching Ben 10 each morning before school.  I love the squeak of his words when he yells at his sisters, which I believe to be God’s way of softening the mood for me when a fight breaks out.  I also love the depth at which we can chat, laugh and tease each other, often being the only two that get the joke at hand.  I am so thankful for each and every hair on his head and each and every stinky sock I have to gather from his floor.  Happy Birthday Alex!

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10)

In honor of Alex's birthday I have made Zucchini Cakes.  You have to have cake for a birthday!  Okay, this might not be a winner with the kids for dessert, but for dinner it rocked.

Zucchini Cakes

Ingredients: 
2 Zucchinis (Grated and drained lightly)
½ Shallot (diced fine)
½ Yellow Onion (diced fine)
¼ Cup Sorghum Flour
¼ Cup Buckwheat Flour (not Wheat at all)
½ tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg
Milk for consistency
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Olive Oil




Directions:

1.       Combine zucchini, shallot and onion with salt and pepper.
2.       In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking powder, egg and add milk until a thick batter is created.
3.       Mix veggies in with the batter.
4.       Heat olive oil in skillet
5.       Place mixture by the spoonful and brown on each side
6.       Drain on towel and salt to taste

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread


One of the blessings I mentioned in my last blog about smiles from above is my mother-in-law.  Over the years Mary has become a role model, a guide, a baking coach and a best friend.  I respect her opinion and know that she selflessly shares of herself when others are in need.  She and I share the same taste in many things, and complement each other where we differ.  Though we sometimes disagree spiritedly, we always make it to the other side of any issue and are stronger for it.  I have seen her cry when hurt by a friend, a loss, feeling insignificant and worst of all from the words of someone she loves.  She has been there when I have shared similar tears over the years.  She is there to tell me to get over it and she is there to tell me it is okay to feel sad.  She embraces my mistakes and celebrates my successes.  I could never have imagined that God would bless me with such a wonderful woman in my life as my mother-in-law and though she may make me clench my teeth in frustration from time to time, and I her, I am thankful for each and every memory and moment that was and will be shared with her.

"There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!" (Proverbs 31:29)

The recipe below is modified for our new gluten free journey from one of the first that Mary shared with me.  Anyone who has ever tried Mary’s Pumpkin bread raves of its hearty scrumptiousness.  I hope that you find this modified version just as yummy as the kids, myself and even Bob did.


Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread 
Modified from Mary Foreman’s Highly Acclaimed Pumpkin Bread Recipe
Makes 1 Large Loaf


Combine and Blend Well:
1 ½ Cups of Sugar
½ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Salt
2 Eggs

To Above Add and Blend Well:

½ Cup Coconut Oil
2/3 Cup Pumpkin
1/3 Cup Water
½ Cup Sweet Sorghum Flour
½ Cup Buckwheat Flour
½ Cup White Rice Flour
1/3 Cup Oat Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda

Pour into a greased and floured bread pan and bake at 350 for approximately 45min-60min or when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.



Monday, April 23, 2012

Recent Smiles Sent From Above:


  • Seeing Abby and Emily get dressed up and feel completely beautiful
  • Laughing with Alex on a joke that only he and I get
  • Understanding and being understood by my Grandma, aka my sister a couple generations removed
  • Making eye contact with my husband and seeing the understanding in his eyes
  • Lilacs that smell as sweet as they look
  • A mother in law that is also a patient best friend
  • Friends that call just to see how you are doing
  • Watching my children create friendships
  • Hearing my children sing His praises anywhere and everywhere
  • Watching Abby dance with her friend and laugh together when they make mistakes
  • Friends that visit laugh and never judge the mess of your house
  • Hugs from my kids and husband
  • Jokes created by a 4 year old
  • Being able to chat with Alex about real things
  • Being able to chat with Alex about imaginary things
  • Sisters, brothers, Aunts and Uncles
  • People that remember the birthdays of my family, even if they don’t care much for birthdays themselves
  • Perfectly white bowls
  • The smell of my Grandma's kitchen
  • The forgiveness of family and friends when my mouth moves faster than my brain
  • Colorful flowers and birds to be subjects in my photo adventures
  • Hiking adventures with the kids
  • The crash of the ocean waves as I watch my children run and play in the sand
  • Sandcastles, sand in my shoes long after the trip and my Aunt Sandy who will always be a child at heart
  • Apricots
  • The freedom and ability to share my crazy train of thought with people near and far with ease 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Batter Dipped Cauliflower


It occurred to me today, that I have ENERGY again.  I don’t feel like crawling into a ball and going to bed by 9am.  That was not a typo, I meant 9am...  I suppose much of this new energy is due to the fact that I do not have the constant urge to vomit, but most of that and the extra energy HAS to be attributed to the new way I have to eat.  How can you not have energy when you body isn’t wasting it all trying to digest what you put in it, no matter how small the quantity?  It has become glaringly obvious to me that the quality of what we eat is far more important than I ever imagined.  Eating no wheat (gluten), no meat, low fat, lower fiber and simple foods has yielded this energy that I haven’t felt in a very long time.  I wish I didn’t have to get sick as a dog for months to come to this realization, but some of us hit the snooze a bit too long and have to be shaken to be woken up.  I am just glad that I finally did wake up!  Now to get rid of the gnawing sore pain in my Right Upper Quadrant….

God is good…all the time!  All the time…God is good!  All God’s people say….AMEN!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)
 
The below recipe is one of my favorite comfort foods my Grandma likes to make and is her favorite treat as well.  Since her recipe calls for flour, I decided to modify for my stomach and was quite happy with the results.  Three out of three others polled agree, this is a tasty alternative.

Batter Dipped Cauliflower

Ingredients:
1/3 Cup Buckwheat Flour  
(not the same as wheat and gluten free I have learned recently )
1/3 Cup Chickpea Flour
1/3 Cup Rice Flour
1 tsp Vanilla
½ tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg
Sugar (to taste)
Milk for consistency
Cauliflower (works wonderfully with other veggies and fish as well)
Salt
Olive Oil (or preferred oil)

 

Directions:

Combine flours, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, egg, sugar and add milk until pancake batter consistency is reached.  Chop cauliflower into little pieces and mix into batter.  Each spoonful should be full of cauliflower. Heat oil in skillet and then add batter mix by the spoonful.  Lightly brown on the first side and then flip to other side and brown to cook through.  Remove cooked battered cauliflower from the skillet and salt each side and then leave to drain on paper towels.  Serve warm.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Birds, the Bees and the Flowers


Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? (Matthew 6:26-30)









  


 
                




Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easy Fruit and Nut Bars

The following recipe is one that the kids and I have played with and discovered together on our journey through gluten free and healthier living.  This recipe is thoroughly kid tested AND kid and husband approved.  We made a batch tonight for photos and it is almost all gone.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127:3)





























Easy Fruit and Nut Bars


Ingredients:
1.5 Cups Dried Fruit *
1/2 to 1 Cup Toasted Almond, Walnuts or Pecans
Pinch of salt
1/4 to 1/3 Cup Melted Dark Chocolate






Directions:

1. In a food processor, combine dried fruit, salt and nuts and mix until ground. 


2. Place parchment paper in a 9x5 loaf pan, covering sides and bottom.  Put the ground fruit and nuts into the pan and flatten on the bottom to ends and corners evenly.  


3. Pull up on parchment paper and remove fruit piece, placing on plate or cutting board upside down.  Remove parchment paper. 




4. Drizzle with melted chocolate, cut into 12 pieces and place in the refrigerator until chocolate is hardened.  We prefer to keep the bars cold for storage, but they can be kept room temperature as well.  Enjoy!



*For the bars pictured I used 1.5 cups of mixed dried fruit (apples, cranberries, dates and apricots) along with both almonds and pecans.  I also pressed sunflower seeds into the bottom per my husbands request for more crunch.  All agree on the yum factor.  We have also combined apricots, dates and pecans as well as cranberries, apricots and almonds and enjoyed both combinations.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Who Said You Have to Hate Mondays?


Yesterday, Monday April 16, 2012 was unseasonably warm and the weather teams all predicted it would be for a few days prior.  After being sick and unable to get off the couch for the better part of 7months, and now having the luxury of functional nausea, I am very motivated to do fun and exciting things with the kids.  This week, I decided to play hooky and go to the beach on the gloriously warm day that the Lord gave us this April.  I did not tell the kids until the evening before, making sure there were no major tests or homework assignments that would get us all in trouble if missed.  Early in the morning, we loaded up and were on our way to a day of fun in the sun!  Thank you Lord for the opportunity to enjoy your creation with the beautiful children you have blessed me with!

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  (Psalm 118:24)