Oh, yesterday…

Yesterday, had it’s share of stress and trials, both personal ones and those of a dear, dedicated sister in Christ. This song was one of last night’s special music selections for our Missions Conference. There are songs that move me to tears….this is one of them…it was the right song at the right time. There is nothing like changing my focus from myself, the here and now, to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … remembering HIS time here, HIS walk to the cross, HIS victory…changes everything. ~ E V E R Y T H I N G ~
We struggle. We all struggle and so did Jesus and He KNOWS. If you’re struggling today, please listen to the song, remember what Christ did for us, and rest in the assurance that God is in control and He is with us.

FOLLOW ME
By Ira Stamphill

I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair,
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him so so tenderly,
“My feet were also weary upon the Calv’ry road,
The cross became so heavy I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim, the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.”

“I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say,
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I’m worth a lot to thee,”
And then I heard Him gently say to me,
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.”

Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday
‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
“No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die,”
These are the words he gently spoke to me,
“If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand,”
But if by death to living they can thy glory see,
I’ll take my cross and follow close to thee.

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Keep it Simple Meatloaf

We love this beet loaf meatloaf!  It is homey and comforting and filling and pretty cheap.

going, going, gone meatloaf

Meatloaf:
1.5 – 2 lb ground beef

1 slice bread – crumbled

1 egg – slightly beaten

1/2 onion – chopped

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

4 T ketchup

2/3 C milk

parsley to sprinkle on top

a handful of something green – chopped fine – spinach, greens, little fresh basil, whatever you have on hand

Sauce:
2-3 T apple cider vinegar (to taste)

4 T dark cane sugar or brown sugar

1/2 C ketchup

Saute onion in some fat of your choice.  Combine all the meat and seasonings with your hands until mixed well.  Shape into loaf or pat into the baking dish (I often use a round deep baking dish).  Spread the sauce on top and bake for about an hour (no pink but not dry) @ 350.

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Compilation of my canned Christmas music protest on FB

I’ve had about all of “White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland” I can stomach. Who has actually roasted a chestnut on an open fire? Bah Humbug to all of it. The 24/7 Christmas radio, canned restaurant and mall music has pretty much killed any festive joy in the 10 songs they play….over and over and over AND OVER! My ears are bleeding. Soooooo, I just have to counter all that with some real Christmas music…..they’re called carols and hymns!! Enjoy!

Yes, Virginia….there is more Christmas music! Written originally as a poem, “Cantique de Noel” and set to music for French church services in 1847. According to history, the first spoken words broadcast were from the Gospel of Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus Christ and followed by this song.

Here’s another one I haven’t heard over the airwaves. “Once in Royal David’s City”. It’s a lovely, lovely melody and I honestly didn’t know of this song until a couple years ago.
He came down to earth from Heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

More loveliness

Thank you Andy, Johnny, Amy, and Vince … It IS a wonderful time of year. In fact, it is time to celebrate “The Birthday of a King” !!!

Some carols take a little digging to find, but these high school kids did beautifully with Come Ye Lofty, Come Ye Lowly ….

OhOhOh! This one is pretty, too!

This is a good one to end the day with.
The boys’ school choir sang this arranged with Silent Night and it was superb! (Not that I’m partial – ahem). “Still, Still, Still”. Sweet dreams ya’ll.

Starting my protest early today. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was much easier to find, but this video has cello.
Matthew 1:23
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Cello, lots of cello.

Not a Christmas song, per se, but it beautifully praises Jesus. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” Thank you, Mr. Bach!

Guess what time it is. Time for another Christmas carol! There are so many pretty instrumental versions of this ancient melody, but this one had the words. “Good Christian Men, Rejoice”. “Christ was born to save.”

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Keeefir, Kehhhfir, Keh-FEAR?

I don’t really know, but it is what’s growing around here…or fermenting…or culturing.  Doing what kefirs do.

My little kefirs had a rough start. When they arrived, I was in the throes of some health issues and the grains sat on my desk for a good week. During the week, they became buried in a pile of mail and thusly forgotten a second week.  I think a good part of another week went by before I gathered the courage (ahem – motivation!) to get this kefir party started. The first batch came through quite sugary but OK, despite being grossly neglected.  Much to my surprise, the boys liked it and I am encouraged.  My little kefirs are alive!

The second batch didn’t fair well.  I used plain sugar in this batch because I was feeling cheap and didn’t want to use up all my organic whole cane  sugar .  Nor was I sure I wanted the molasses under flavor.  To add more stress to my little kefirs, I set them in the oven overnight with the light on to keep them warm – because we were in the midst of a cool spell and there was no way I was going to close my windows!  Well, that oven got a LOT warmer than I thought.  Anyway, I finished the ferment and bottled up the batch to see if it worked.  It didn’t.

OK…back to The Google to learn ‘How to Rehabilitate Your Kefir”.  Kefirs need some minerals in the water.  AHa! Our drinking water is filtered through a Big Berkey…no chlorine, no fluoride, nada.  So, I added a couple drops of ConcenTrace to the next batch.  Low and behold a nice white film begins to grow on the brew and that is never a good thing.  The white slime of death.  Now, I’ve really done it and killed my kefir.

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It’s embarrassing to say that I’ve been whooped up on by a kefir, so before I conceded, I went for one more batch.  This batch has it all….good sugar, minerals, a happy place on the counter.  Fourth time is a charm, right?

The next morning, I check my little jar of friends and I don’t see a white film.  OK….maybe!

The next morning, I see bubbles.  Yes!  Beautiful little bubbles of fermantatiousness!  We dance together in the kitchen….okay, I was just swirling them around a little bit.

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Where I found instructions and helps.

Choosing the Best Water Kefir Ingredients @ Cultures for Health

Water Kefir FAQ also @ Cultures for Health

Directions – Video and Written @ Wellness Mama

How to Make Milk Kefir – good general info on probiotic from DIY Natural

kefir grains - I bought these from Keysands because they had Five Stars.  My kefirs are obviously from good ‘stock’ and they also come with an owner’s manual.

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New foods

Old foods are the new foods,  it seems.

Consider the dandelion. I remember, as a child, hearing about old folks eating dandelion greens, making jelly out of the flowers, and grinding up the roots for a hot beverage. I just don’t remember ever seeing anyone eat these weeds. It turns out that these leaves are some of the most nutrient-dense greens you can eat and other countries actually grow dandelions in their gardens. We can devour a pot of greens around here, so, when I saw these huge dandelion leaves amongst all the other greens at the Kroger, I had a little moment of excitement right there in the produce section.

I fixed them like I do most greens….simply – a little bacon (or sausage), a little onion, and salt and pepper. I can tell you that dandelion greens are as wonderful as any green and they have a bit of a sweet flavor in with the usual bitter.

On this particular trip, I found all kinds of new mushrooms on display. I thought these looked pretty cool, so I bought them.
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We didn’t really like them.

A food that I certainly remember from childhood is round steak. Not very exciting then nor now, I know, but this is a great recipe for those affordable, tough cuts of beef.

Carne Barata – roughly translated as “cheap meat”
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2 lbs tenderized round steak
1 onion
can of crushed tomatoes
2 jalapeños pepper – to taste! but this dish needs at least a little
garlic powder
black pepper
paprika – this is really optional – smoked paprika or chiptole powder
allspice – i have whole allspice and just smashed about a dozen and then chopped them to smithereens
cilantro
butter

Thinly slice the meat. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper.
Thinly slice the onion.
Prep your jalapeños – or do what I did and grab the jar of sliced jalapeños in the fridge.

Heat a big pan and add 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Add the meat and just barely brown. Remove.
Sautee onions. Add more butter if needed.
Add tomatoes. Stir and add meat.
Add the allspice and paprika.
Simmer awhile until the meat is quite tender.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

I served this over cauliflower mash (with a bit of butter, garlic and nutmeg) and the flavors worked very well together.
A squeeze of fresh lime would really top this off.

My Most Faithful Kitchen Companion!

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