Friday, November 30, 2012

Fermented Friday: Leftover Oatmeal Turned Bread- Cranberry-Sage or Multigrain

Fermented Friday: recipes featuring yeast, wine, beer or some form of fermentation.

Guess what happens when make a batch of rather bland slow cooker steel-cut oats one day, and then make Chocolate-Pumpkin Quinoa the next day?  That's right, leftover oatmeal.  I'm not one to let leftovers stand in the fridge, they always turn into something else.  It would be pretty fun to make cookies or granola bars with cooked oats, but we need a little yeast action for Fermented Friday.  If we can make bread with rice why not bread with leftover oatmeal?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: Ebenezer

Thursday's Thoughts: a taste of what I'm thinking

Ebenezer.  How cool of a word is that!  Say it again, a little more slowly...Ebenezer.  I love funky sounding words, but that could be another post entirely. Typically when I hear the word Ebenezer around this time of year the first thing that pops into my head is Ebenezer Scrooge, the grouch in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  But last Sunday, I learned something that shed a brighter light on the word Ebenezer.

Since I've moved home I started attending a different church than my parents.  Seeing as it was a holiday weekend and my brother was home, I decided to go with them last Sunday. The sermon there ended up playing off the concept of a recipe.  That got my attention.  I speak, breathe, live and eat recipes.

We looked at verses in 1 Samuel 7 as an example of the ingredients needed in a recipe for renewal.  Near the end of this 'recipe' was the act of giving thanks and acknowledging how God has helped us.  In verse 12 Samuel sets up a stone as a reminder of God's help and faithfulness.  He names the stone Ebenezer, which means stone of help.  As he sets up this stone he says, 'thus far has the Lord helped us.'   When we pause to give thanks we are reflecting and acknowledging all the ways God has helped us in the past.

We are reminded that He has helped us up until now (thus far has the Lord helped us).  This gives us hope and peace that he will continue to help us even though we don't know what's coming next.  Regardless of what may come we choose to pause and thank God for all his help.  His rock-solid help and faithfulness have proven themselves over and over.  Time and time again I see how God has helped me.  I am thankful for this pattern and trust it will continue.  He is my Ebenezer, my stone of help.  A concept that makes me love the word Ebenezer even more.

Food for Thought: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning ; great is thy faithfulness." -Lamentations 3:22-23

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Chocolate-Pumpkin Quinoa

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Because some recipes are so weird I just HAVE to try them.  My curiosity always gets the better of me.

Are you sick of pumpkin yet?  Too bad, I'm not.  I'll try to transition from fall mode into Christmas, but I'm not quite ready yet.  It's still November after all.  Come December warm comforting spices like cinnamon and nutmeg will jump from apple and pumpkin to gingerbread and eggnog.  My swooning over squash will melt into chocolate, cookies and candy.   But for this week, we'll ease the transition by combining our chocolate and pumpkin. And eating it for breakfast.

It's okay, really.  Let me rationalize this one for you.  It started with this recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Quinoa Porridge.  Replacing oats with quinoa gives oatmeal a modern makeover.  Porridge packed with protein and pumpkin, yes please.  Then there's this Double Chocolate Oatmeal which appears to make eating chocolate for breakfast completely acceptable necessary.  But since we just had oatmeal yesterday, we'll stir up some chocolate-pumpkin quinoa.  Breakfast.  Dessert.  You decide and I'll provide the proper justification.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oats

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

I think I still have a Thanksgiving food hangover.  So before I jump into my usual overkill of Christmas treats I figured some oatmeal was in order.  Somewhere along the line I bought a large bag of steel-cut oats. Why?  Hmmm, a good question.  I wish I remembered my exact plans for these little grains.  But alas, there they sit in the pantry, nearly untouched.

Steel-cut oats are oat grains that have been cut into 2 to 3 pieces rather than rolled and flattened into flakes. They retain a chewier texture than rolled oats and take between 20 to 40 minutes to cook (depending on you texture preference). Time has been the deal breaker thus far.  I just can't wait that long for breakfast.  So instead of 40 minutes at the stove, I threw them in the slow cooker to cook for 6 hours.  I know.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mindful Monday: Patience

Mindful Monday: On Monday's I'm going to share what's been on my mind. I by no means have any of this figured out, I'm just thinking out loud here.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. -Psalm 37:7

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. -Psalm 40:1

A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. -Proverbs 14:29

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. -Proverbs 15:18

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. -Proverbs 16:32

A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. -Proverbs 19:11

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. -Proverbs 25:15

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. -Romans 8:25

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 12:12

Love is patient. -1 Corinthians 13:4

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. -Galatians 5:22-23

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Colossians 3:12

I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. -1 Timothy 1:16

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. -Hebrews 6:15

Food for Thought: "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." -Lamentations 3:24

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fermented Friday: Stuffed Full hangover, or is it food coma?  More stuffing went into me than the bird.  And then more.  And now all those leftovers....let's just call it a wrap for the week, shall we?

Actually, I guess I can tell you a few things I learned related to fermentation and yeast bread.

Dinner Rolls
No matter how long you bake them or how much butter you brush on top, your dinner rolls will not brown nicely if your dough didn't have enough sugar or protein.

Pasty pale white rolls don't look so great. But if you keep baking and baking, they dry out in the center.  Dry rolls give you permission to slather them with even more butter, especially on Thanksgiving.

Turning on the broiler for just a few minutes to brown those stubborn tops sort of works, but with so many other things going on you will likely scorch the tops of at least one batch.

 It is super cool and impressive when your brother tells you he want to learn to make French bread.  Wait......what?  You want to make French bread over break?  Okay!!!  I put him to work and we made all the bread for the stuffing.  He did an excellent job.

 How awesome is it that we made bread together!?!?!  I was more than excited.  What's even better is he graciously listened to my over explanations of all that was going on with the dough.

I'm thankful beyond words for all his help and thoughtfulness.

My mom also deserves many thanks for all her help, patience and letting me just do my thing in her kitchen without rolling her eyes.  Another one of those thankful beyond words deals.

Food for Thought: "The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." -Maya Angelo 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: Thanksgiving

Thursday's Thoughts: a taste of what I'm thinking

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am blessed beyond measure. I have more to be thankful for than I could ever list, but here's a random sampling of a few things things I can express in a word or short phrase.  Whether big or little, serious or lighthearted, profound or playful, we give thanks to God for all things; for without Him we are nothing.

a safe place to live
the smell of baking bread
hot water for long showers
warm cozy blankets
steaming hot mugs of tea
strong coffee
good books
my camera
chances to learn and grow
the sound of the breeze rustling leaves
a job
cell phones
lip gloss
moon and stars
colors of the sky

Food for Thought: "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." -Gilbert K. Chesterton

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Savory Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Pecan Pie

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Because some recipes are so weird I just HAVE to try them.  My curiosity always gets the better of me.

Knowing how much I like to experiment, my brother gave me this super neat pie pan that's split down the middle, allowing me to test two recipes at once.

With a twinkle in his eye he encouraged me to practice my pie making skills while he's home on Thanksgiving break.  Knowing I had a willing taste tester, I set out to make two of the pies on my ever growing 'recipes to try' list.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

Thanksgiving in our family typically consists of a large buffet-style meal sometime in the early afternoon.  After eating more than you ever wanted to it seems we wait, I don't know, about an hour or two before starting to set out all the snacks and appetizers for supper. We then repeat the stuffing yourself process, but this time with party food instead of a sit-down meal.  Makes total sense, right? 

Anyway, these pumpkin peanut butter cups are appearing for the supper part of the spread. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mindful Monday: Favorite?

Mindful Monday: On Monday's I'm going to share what's been on my mind. I by no means have any of this figured out, I'm just thinking out loud here.

I never seem to have an answer to the question, "what's your favorite______?"  The perfectionist in me thinks I have to have the perfect answer, or that there is only one answer.  What if the answer I give isn't actually my favorite? How can I possibly decide and pick just one thing out of all those options? Being the indecisive, perfectionist, people pleaser that I sometimes am, I'm finally realizing that there are far too many areas in which I have yet to form an opinion for myself.  Rather than making a decision, I often just go along with the choices of others, saying I don't really care or it doesn't matter.  Of course this doesn't happen in every situation, but apparently enough that I'm aware of it.

For some reason a conversation I had with someone this summer keeps coming to mind.  The topic was deeper, but for simplicity sake let's just say the topic was music.  Someone asked me what my favorite type of music was and I responded with something along the lines of, 'I pretty much just listen to whatever's already on.  I usually let someone else pick the station and most anything goes.'  Normally the conversation would move to the next question or topic of small talk, but this time the response caught me off guard.  This person looked right at me, saying, "but what do YOU like to listen to? What does Melissa enjoy?"  Ummm, what? You actually want to know what I like and aren't just trying to make small talk? You're really listening and interested and my answer matters to you?  

That got me thinking, what do I like? There are several areas I've just gone along with other people's preferences or opinions. You know, that go with the flow, don't tip the boat, do things they way they've always been done attitude. I don't make a decision because I don't have to.  But what is it that I really enjoy? What is the purpose or motive behind my choices?

What fun to discover new likes and interests.  Everything takes on a new perspective.  I don't have to pick one favorite for life and chisel it in stone, it can change and grow as I do.  Maybe something I thought was my favorite really isn't anymore.  There are some things I really don't care or have an opinion about, where either way really is fine with me.  But there are others I'm pondering in a new light.  The freedom comes in the mindfulness of choice and ability to define and recognize the situation.   I can say 'I don't care' or 'it doesn't matter' when I really do mean it, but I can also state my opinion with confidence.  It's like an exciting new adventure, called life.

Food for Thought: "We don't need to have just one favorite. We keep adding to our favorites. Our favorite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favorites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favorites. They're always with us. We just sort of accumulate them." -Lloyd Alexander

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fermented Friday: Pumpkin Wild Rice Bread with Rosemary and Dried Cherries

Fermented Friday: recipes featuring yeast, wine, beer or some form of fermentation.

This pumpkin yeast bread is the perfect middle ground. Soft and tender yet sturdy and hearty, it has just the right amount of chew.  Wild rice sneaks in to add body and texture.  But don't be wary, the rice bakes in enough that you can't really tell it's rice while you're eating it.  Pumpkin helps make the loaf tender without using loads of butter (like the potato in these rolls).

A sweet loaf with a hint of savory makes this bread versatile.  Sweet cherries blend with subtle notes of rosemary while a delicate pumpkin flavor lingers in the background.  It's perfect on its own or great for toast or sandwiches.  I am so tempted to make this again next week as dinner rolls or use it in stuffing.  Then again, this bread sort of has the makings of stuffing baked right in.  I don't know, I really need to nail down what I'm making for Thanksgiving.  I'll try to stick to tradition, but knowing me...well, you just never know what you'll get at my house.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: Giving Thanks

Thursday's Thoughts: a taste of what I'm thinking

One week until Thanksgiving.  I easily get caught up in the food and planning, but that's not really what Thanksgiving is all about is it?  Or at least not what it's supposed to be about. Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks.  Yet a thankful attitude should be present all throughout the year, not just around a holiday.  I'm going to try and be extra mindful of things I'm thankful for in this week leading up to Thanksgiving.

I can be sick of cleaning or thankful I have a house to clean, cleaning supplies and time to clean. (But if you're coming over don't expect too clean, just saying.)  The piles of half unpacked boxes from college overtaking the basement mean that I was blessed enough to go to college in the first place.  A tablecloth that's 6 inches too short makes me thankful for enough family to fill that long table.  Way too many ideas and recipes to choose from makes me thankful for fun and creativity as well as tradition.

A few years ago our relatives watched their neighbors house burn down the night before Thanksgiving.   I'm thankful for a home to fill with family.  One year I was in the hospital for Thanksgiving.  This year I'm thankful to be home with family.  Last week a 10-year-old boy who just had brain surgery here was killed in a car accident on his way to spend Thanksgiving at home.  I have so much to be thankful for.

There's plenty to be thankful or on a lighter note too.  I'm thankful I'm not a turkey.  I'm thankful for cozy blankets, warm tea and slippers on chilly days.  I'm thankful that I saw the stuff floating in my tea before I took the first sip and not after.  I'm thankful for sunshine, fresh air and the fact that it's really not all that cold out yet.  I'm thankful the election is over (what? I am.)  I'm thankful I caught the falling container of banana puree before it oozed all over the counter, doors and floor.  I'm thankful I've made some time to read books lately.  I'm thankful for the softer sheets I put on my bed last night.  I'm thankful for aprons, kneading and the aroma of bread baking.  There is always something to be thankful for.  And probably a little more too.

Food for Thought:  "Gratitude bestows reverence , allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." -John Milton

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Egg Coffee

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Because some recipes are so weird I just HAVE to try them.  My curiosity always gets the better of me.

Last month I randomly mentioned egg coffee.  You knew I'd give in and try it sooner or later, didn't you?  You should have placed bets for how long I'd hold out before I tried this weird technique.  Maybe you did, in which case I hope you won.

I found some old percolators at my grandma's house and mentioned them to her.  She told me about the egg coffee she used to make where whole egg, shell and all, is added in with the grounds. And we're not talking an electric drip coffee maker here either, just a stove top coffee pot.  She claims it's the best coffee she's ever had and they just don't make it like that anymore. (Gee, I wonder why? I don't.)  So after raising my eyebrows for awhile and plenty of skepticism on my part, I gave in.  Truth be told, I had several other weird recipes planned for today, but they crashed, flopped and withered a little too hard to make it all the way here.  Since this egg coffee concept seems weird to my generation, I decided it would work in a pinch.

It's actually a technique that's been used for years by countless coffee brewers and served to plenty of unsuspecting guests.  A Scandinavian tradition, this coffee is also known as 'Lutheran church basement coffee.'  I looked up quite a few recipe variations and had fun learning about this weird tradition.  It wasn't until afterwords that I found this food science post explaining the chemistry involved.  I'll spare you the details, but the egg and shell supposedly remove bitterness and acidity, producing and incredibly smooth cup of coffee.

Let me just show you what happened.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Homemade Butterfinger Bonbons

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

If I had one word for every one of these I popped in my mouth, that would be a lot of words.

These lasted less than 24 hours, much less.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mindful Monday: Peace

Mindful Monday: On Monday's I'm going to share what's been on my mind. I by no means have any of this figured out, I'm just thinking out loud here.

I'm finding it rather interesting to look up all the places a word is used in the Bible.  A few weeks ago I did this with hope and shared some of them with you.  Bible Gateway is a great online tool that allows you to search the Bible in various ways and compare different versions.  Below are are few of the verses that stood out to me on peace.  I know it looks like a lot, but it really won't take you long to read it. I encourage you to take a few minutes to pause and reflect before you start the busy week.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. -Proverbs 14:30

Turn form evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. -Psalm 34:14

Better a dry crust with peace and quite than a house full of feasting, with strife. -Proverbs 17:1

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. -Isaiah 26:3

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. -Isaiah 26:12

'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you. -Isaiah 54:10

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:27

'I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.' -John 16:33

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lour Jesus Christ. -Romans 5:1

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace -Romans 8:6

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. -Romans 12:18

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  -Romans 14:19

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. -1 Corinthians 14:33

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving. considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Food for Thought: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. -Hebrews 12:11

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fermented Friday: Citrus Pomegranate Spirals with Candied Ginger

Fermented Friday: recipes featuring yeast, wine, beer or some form of fermentation.

Pomegranates were only 69 cents again, time to play.  I also had a lime in my fridge that needed to be put to good use.  Hmmm, something pomegranate-lime....pomegranate, lime about pomegranate, lime and ginger....or maybe orange-pomegranate.  Meh, let's just go with all four flavors, but what to put them in?  Salad, salsa, muffins, cookies, bread?  Ahh yes, bread.  Baking bread just needs to happen.  I need to knead...something....something bright and sunny, something the opposite of my mood...and the weather.  Dreary, overcast days call for baking.  I need to unwind, loosen up a little, peel off the outer layer and get to the soft center.  Let's go with rolls.

Orange juice and lime are kneaded into soft, sweet dough.  Golden orange marmalade adds an extra layer of sweetness before a sprinkle of candied ginger and juicy, red pomegranate seeds are wrapped and tucked inside.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: The Push and Pull of Progress

Thursday's Thoughts: a taste of what I'm thinking

I find myself going through stages, or rather cycles.  The same theme repeats in a slightly different context or application.  Sometimes I wonder if I will ever learn.  Life has its ups and downs, highs and lows.  There is a natural flow and rhythm that progresses from a balance of extremes.  I've been thinking about times where I've pushed myself to grow and learn, to step out of my comfort zone, to become a better person.  It takes a lot of work and conscious effort, but it's always worth it.  These times of progress are often followed by times of complacency.   When things are going smoothly I let down my guard, thinking I'll continue to glide on through without pedaling.  But when I stop paying attention things easily go askew.  Old habits and patterns can creep back in and make you feel like you've lost what you worked so hard to change.  Certain accomplishments can not be thought of as end goals, but continual processes.

Sorry, I should have warned you that this is really vague and scattered, but I'm just starting to unravel this thought.  It's always easier to see things in hindsight.  Sometimes I look back and think, man I really had a good thing going there, what happened?  Where did I get off course, what happened that changed my pattern?  I don't always have the answer, and the circumstances may be beyond my control.  One thing I can control is my attitude and perspective. It's always helpful to approach life with curiosity, a hunger for more, a desire to learn and become, a thirst to stretch my mind to the next limit.  Being complacent, or worse yet, focusing on the negative, doesn't lead to progress.  I must look ahead with wonder to push beyond what I think or feel possible.

If one year from now I were to look back at my life right now, would I see a time of growth or complacency?  Progress or pitfall?  What can I be doing right now to make sure I look back on this time as a time well spent, time full of meaning and purpose?  I'm not sure I know the answer to that at this exact second, but I have an idea to start with.  I've been meaning to start this for a week or so, but still haven't moved from idea to action.  My plan is to ask myself two questions each at the end of each day; What did you learn today?, and What is one thing from today that you are thankful for?  Each night I'm going to physically write down one thing I learned that day and (at least) one thing I'm thankful for.  Will this help in relation to my thoughts in the above paragraphs?  Maybe, maybe not.  I can only give it a shot and see what happens.  It certainly can't hurt.

Food for Thought: "In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Apple Ring Pancakes

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Because some recipes are so weird I just HAVE to try them.  My curiosity always gets the better of me.

I've been chowing down an insane amount of apples this fall.  We've made 3 trips to the orchard and each time we come home with a 1/2 bushel of seconds plus a smaller bag of another variety. A bushel of apples weighs between 42 and 48 pounds so I'm guessing we've hit the 70-80 lb range in total.  Yikes, that looks like so much more when you add it all up.  Crisp and tart are my favorite, but my last trip to the orchard left me with a bag of soft and mildly sweet apples.  They're great for sauce or apple butter, but they're not my favorite for munching.  Since this is the 3rd 1/2 bushel bag of the season, I've had more than my fair share of pie and apple crisp.  I was up for a change of pace and thought I'd give these pancakes a whirl.

I'm not a big breakfast eater.  A bowl of cereal, an apple, just give me something that requires zero thought.  Every once in a while I'll put a little more effort into breakfast and make something like muffins or pancakes.  Don't get me wrong, I like breakfast food, I just don't eat it at breakfast time.  More often than not I'll eat the muffins as a snack or make pancakes, waffles or French toast for Sunday lunch.  So yeah, these pancakes hit the griddle around 3 in the afternoon but we can pretend I made them for breakfast.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Pumpkin-Biscoff Pull-Apart Loaf

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

I've been waiting to make something with pumpkin and Biscoff for what seems like forever. According to my Pinterest boards I first discovered this flavor combination only 9 weeks ago... so just a tad shorter than forever.  For those of you non-foodies, Biscoff is known as the European version of peanut butter.  While the texture resembles peanut butter, it has a flavor all its own. Think of it as a spreadable gingersnap cookie.  Biscoff is now available in quite a few grocery stores across the US.  It's also sold as Cookie Butter at Trader Joe's. (Rumor has it they'll be stocking a crunchy variety in time for Christmas.) I bought a jar this past summer, but it went straight from spoon to mouth.  After seeing this this Pumpkin Biscoff Bread, I knew the second jar wouldn't go entirely from spoon to mouth, or at least not directly.

Another thing I've been itching to make is a pull-apart loaf.  I mean, who wouldn't want to pull ribbons of bread off a loaf? It looks like too much fun. This was my first attempt and, as always, I learned a few things along the way.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mindful Monday: Rules

Mindful Monday: On Monday's I'm going to share what's been on my mind. I by no means have any of this figured out, I'm just thinking out loud here.

In the small group I'm in we're going through the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. Without getting too much into detail, I'll just say that the main point of the study is that both of the sons in the story are lost.  Normally the focus is on the younger son, known as the prodigal. This study focuses on comparing and contrasting the two sons,&their attitudes and their interactions with the father.

What struck me this week was that both sons are focused on the rules and performance.  The younger son (the prodigal) is focused on all the rules he has broken while the older son is focused on all the rules he has kept. Yet the father is not interested in rules.  He accepts them each, regardless of their actions or attitudes.  It's not about rules, it's about relationship.  There is no way to earn God's approval, it's a gift he chooses to extend, no questions asked.  While the sons are focused on rules and actions, the father is focused on the person himself.  Both are his sons and nothing can change that.

There are a lot more similarities, differences and observations to be learned from this story, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Food for Thought: "Hope is a thing without feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without  the words and never stops at all." -Emily Dickinson 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fermented Friday: Pumpkin Beer Apple Butter

Fermented Friday: recipes featuring yeast, wine, beer or some form of fermentation.

Apple butter and pumpkin butter in each silky smooth spoonful. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: Hope

Thursday's Thoughts: a taste of what I'm thinking

'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heaves are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:8-9

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. -Hebrews 11:1

Find rest, oh my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. -Psalm 62:5

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. -Psalm 71:14

The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. -Psalm 147:11

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:31

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. -Lamentations 3:21-23

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait patiently for the salvation of the Lord. -Lamentations 3:25

We also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us. -Romans 5:3-5

For this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. -Romans 8:24-25

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 12:12

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. -Hebrews 10:23

Food for Thought: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason  for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." -1 Peter 3:15