Saturday, March 31, 2012

“There’s a hole in this cake!”

Printable recipe here

3¼ cups cake flour, sifted
2 tsp baking poweder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup sour cream
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup lemon juice
2 Tbl vanilla
4 large eggs
2¼ cups sugar
¾ cup canola oil

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°.  Generously brush bundt pan with shortening and dust with flour.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in large bowl and set aside.  In another bowl, whisk sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and set aside.  In another bowl (dishes, I know) whisk eggs and sugar together stirring vigorously to lighten eggs.  Gradually whisk in oil until evenly combined.  Add sour cream mixture and stir together.  Add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined but still a bit lumpy.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake until cake pulls away from sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean – about 50 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes, then unmold cake onto a rack placed over a baking sheet.  Cool.  (The cake can be prepared to this point a day ahead.)

When ready to serve, spoon some of the glaze (below) over the top and reserve the rest for serving on the sliced cake.

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tbl lemon juice
finely grated zest of one lemon
1 Tbl butter, melted
1 Tbl water

Thank you Maria Portokalos.

What is your favorite quote from My Big Fat Greek Wedding?  Here's mine:


Saturday, March 24, 2012

On this Saturday

Here’s what’s on my TO DO list today (or whenever I get around to it):

  1. buy and plant nasturtium seeds
  2. figure out a way to have them watered automatically without installing an underground sprinkler system*
  3. visit a dear friend of my mom’s in the hospital after open heart surgery
  4. visit another friend in a memory care facility
  5. be thankful for health and home and God’s care of those who need it so much
  6. call each of my girls
  7. install curtain wire (Dignitet) and new sheers (Lill) from Ikea in our bedroom*
  8. find out how they come up with those names for the products they sell at Ikea
  9. spend time on the Ikea Hackers blog which I just now found when googling “Dignitet”

  10. weed the raised beds in the garden in prep for spinach seeds*
  11. power wash the front walk and back patio* – moss and crud have taken over
  12. shopping @ Tr_der Joes
  13. check out the new fruit and produce market in Beaverton
  14. admit that all of the *’d items on my list will actually be done by my husband
  15. enjoy the SUNSHINE and go for a walk

How about you?  How come you don’t publish your To Do lists on the internet? 

Friday, March 16, 2012

White Chicken Chili Soup

This is a wonderful recipe I got from my friend Cathy Tolls.  It’s really easy and fairly quick to make.  These are the kinds of ingredients I’m likely to have in my pantry so I could put this together at the last minute.  It’s hearty and really flavorful and goes very well with the No-Knead Bread I posted earlier.  Toast a couple slices to serve with this soup and you have a yummy meal!


White Chicken Chili Soup

2 lbs chicken tenders, cut into ½” pieces
2 medium sweet onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped or 2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbl olive oil
4 cans (15½ oz) great northern beans
2 cans (16 oz) chicken broth
3 cans (4 oz) chopped green chilis
1 large green pepper, chopped (I used red & yellow mini-peppers)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp cayenne
2 cups sour cream

Brown chicken in oil then sautĂ© onions and peppers.  Rinse beans.  Add all ingredients together and simmer ~one hour.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Easy No-Knead Bread

I love bread and I love easy.  So this was a recipe I just had to try.  I’m actually one of the rare people left in the world who still uses a bread machine (no I don’t watch movies on a VCR anymore, in case you’re curious) but this recipe is super-easy.  You can use all purpose white flour too if you like.  This requires almost no handling and the way you bake it in a covered pot makes the crust crisp and chewy.

No-Knead Bread
Printable recipe

1½ cups white bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ cups whole wheat bread flour
¼ tsp instant or regular active dry yeast
1½ tsp salt
1½ cups warm water
2 Tbl honey

In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Stir honey into warm water and add to flour mixture, stirring until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let it rest on the countertop for 18-24 hours at room temperature.

The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.  Roughly shape into a ball, putting dough seam side down on board and dust with more flour. Cover completely with a cotton towel and let it sit for another hour or two.

While the bread is resting, preheat the oven to 450°. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, remove pot from oven. Carefully lift and flip the dough over into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that’s OK. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 10-15 minutes, until it’s nice and golden. Eat up!

Because I love it when bloggers take step-by-step photos when they post recipes, I did too.  But I was laughing at myself the whole time.  I wish you could have seen me trying to be all professional.

You can’t handle this dough too much because is it very ‘loose’ and sticky.

I didn’t have a cast iron pot but this heavy-bottomed soup pot with a lid worked really well.  No sticking either!

I love how Jeff put a piece of cheese on the breadboard for this picture.  We are very European.  J'adore le pain!

*Coming soon - a recipe for White Chicken Chili Soup that goes great with this bread!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I started to say

Here’s how I started out writing this post…

Two recent articles got my attention in the sea of depressing news that streams from our computer monitors and tv screens – and they epitomize the depravity that characterizes our culture. 


Ethicists Argue for Acceptance of After Birth Abortions

and taking this issue out of the theoretical…


I was appalled but not surprised at the content of these two articles and I thought I’d just make my feelings of disgust known here.  I was going to give my two cents about what a slippery slope it is when people start down a road away from God’s will.

But then I remembered something Jesus said. 

You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
Matt 5:21-22

I have a habit of applying truth to everyone but myself.  And I have to be very careful of the fine line between righteous anger and self-righteousness.  It’s about my heart – always. 

I was actually really mad about this mind-set of disposing of life if it isn’t convenient or beneficial or according to our expectations.  God is mad about that too, right?  But I was also sitting up on God’s seat of judgment in my assessment of this couple in Portland.  That’s not my chair to sit in.  In fact, in Jesus’ own words, I am guilty of the same thing.  Apart from Christ I am every bit as immoral and hopelessly lost in sin as the next medical ethicist or abortion activist. 

I think it’s really important to stand up for truth and righteousness and life.  But I have to leave the judgment to God. 

I love what John Fischer says:  “How God works with other people is his business, not mine.  My business is to follow him… Let’s face it, it’s a heavy burden being a Pharisee, managing truth, defending God, stalking heresy, enforcing the rules and keeping those out of the kingdom who do not belong there.”

I’ve often caught myself wishing for God to bring judgment on our broken world.  You know – see God get even with all of the horrible evil we hear about every day.  But we don’t live in the age of God’s judgment. That day is coming – we can count on that.  But we live in the age of salvation.  This time in history is when God is pouring out His mercy because He doesn’t want anyone to suffer the consequences of their own sin. 

I’ve been the recipient of that incredible mercy.  My main concern should be to carry the good news of that mercy to other people who haven’t yet received it.   And to avoid my own slippery slopes.  That should actually keep me pretty busy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I am like this… except when I’m not

If you know me very well, you might know that I am not a hoarder or a saver or much of a collector.  I like simplicity.  I like clean and clear.  I am not sentimental about stuff.  My mom was the same way (only more OCD) so I come by this naturally.

It wouldn’t be at all unusual for for me to throw away batteries in the drawer without checking to see if they still had any juice.  Or to dump a handful of old pens – you only really need one or two, right? 

OKAY, I can hear all of you savers gasping at my wastefulness.  I’ll admit that I may have thrown something away only to find the next day that I need that very thing.  Maybe even more than once.  Ask my husband.  But the happiness I get from a clean, organized drawer outweighs my need to go purchase a new bottle of glue now and then.

A happy day for me is cleaning out a closet or drawer.  I delight in getting rid of things.  You get the picture. 

But for every rule there is an exception.  I have a couple.

I can’t seem to get rid of cardboard boxes.  I don’t know why this is true but it is.  Maybe it’s because you can’t easily go out and find just the right size you need to mail something. 

The other exception is my bathrobe.  My old, ratty robe that I know looks terrible but that I cannot part with. 

Does it flatter me as I lounge in the morning sipping my coffee?  NO.  It is too big and pretty shapeless. 

Is it especially warm and cozy?  NO.  It’s actually made of very thin cotton.

Is it a lovely shade of blue or green or a pretty pattern?  NOPE.  It is pale pink – not my color at all.

Has it held up over the years, refusing to wear out?  NO again.  It has holes, tears and worn spots.

My concerned family has given me new robes that are cute, cozy and look good with all my sleepwear.  It’s not that I don’t have an alternative.

So why am hanging onto these rags?  Anyone?


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Home Again

I don't have to talk to myself out loud any more.
I'm back to three meals a day. (Don't worry.  I managed not to starve.)
No more 'D*wnton Abbey' marathons.
Jeff's home after more than 3 weeks in Ethiopia - Woop Woop!
It was an amazing trip.  He took over 5000 photos and lots of video.
One of the many places they met people and took photos was the leper colony at the dump in Addis Ababa.  I’ll share just a few of Jeff's photos from their time in Korah.


People welcomed them into their homes…


Jeff helped this man cut the twine he was using to make the mats he sells.  The man has no fingers left after leprosy has ravaged his body.


Then there are these sweet faces…





Now my house smells like Ethiopian coffee and at 6:30 pm I’m yawning in sympathy of his jet lag. 

Night night!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another Book List

I hope you like a good book suggestion!  Here are a few...

Same Kind Of Different As Me
by Ron Hall & Denver Moore
I read this when it first came out and loved it.  It's a true story that's easy to read and far too easy to relate to.

Hannah Coulter
by Wendall Berry
This author has a very unique writing style - it's almost poetic prose.  There is not a gripping plot but you are drawn into the lives of these characters through the their history, deep feelings and relationships.  I first heard of this author via Beth Moore.

Left To Tell
by Immaculée Ilibagiza
An amazing triumph over horrendous circumstances as the author endured and survived the holocaust in Rwanda.  I think it's important for me to know this was reality for so many.

Love You More
by Jennifer Grant
This is a wonderful book about the real-life stuff of adopting internationally.
I highly recommend it!

These Is My Words
by Nancy Turner
The first in a fiction series about a young pioneer girl - with love, adventure and really good writing.

On my 'to be read' list:

The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

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