Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Butter vs Margarine

Promisedland ~ at HomesteadBlogger.com ~ posted this information about margarine a while back and I thought it was VERY good info to know.

Below that, you will find my VERY easy, VERY tasty butter recipe.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have to use margarine & rice milk for certain recipes for DD#2 b/c of her allergies. However, I choose a non-hydroginated margarine that is also certified Kosher (Biblically clean) called Earth Balance. You can find it in health food stores or in the healthy section of most of the large grocery stores. If they don't have it, ask for it by name. (I'm not getting paid to say that!)

Did you ever wonder how margarine is made? You know, the stuff that’s supposed to taste like butter and be healthier for you? I couldn’t help wondering because if it’s not butter, then what is it? This is what I found:

First, margarine is made from vegetable oil. Along with using high pressure and high temperature to remove the oil, hexane is used to remove the last bit. Hexane is a carcinogen (causes cancer), and is mostly removed later on, but trace amounts remain.

Second, the oils are steam cleaned. This kills any bacteria, but also destroys any vitamins and anti-oxidants that were in the oils.

Third, the oils are then mixed with finely ground nickel, which acts as a catalyst for the hydrogenation process. Nickel is also a carcinogen.

Fourth, the oils are again put under high temperature and pressure, and hydrogen gas is introduced. The hydrogen atoms are forced into the oils. This turns the oils from a liquid into a semi-solid. This semi-solid pretty much takes the form of a grey greasy substance. Emulsifiers are added to remove any lumps.

Fifth, the grey grease is steam cleaned again, and bleached to turn it white (after all, who wants to eat grey margarine?).

Because you now have a lump of stuff that has practically no nutritional value or taste, synthetic vitamins and artificial flavors are added. A natural yellow color is added to make it look like butter. Until the 1950s, margarine had to be white so people wouldn’t mix them up. Now people don’t know the difference.

So which would you choose…a bleached, colored, artificially flavored greasy lump…or….nice fresh, lightly salted butter right from the cow? I know what I’d choose. In fact, I don’t know if I can ever eat margarine again. Yuck!
{Thank you, Promisedland!}

Now, for the BUTTER...

My mother used to do this as a child on a VERY RURAL (to put it MILDLY) Kentucky farm during the Depression. Only she used what she refers to a "curdled milk."

The way I do it is also a great project to do w/your own kids!

Here's my way...

You will need:
~ 2 small cartons of heavy whipping cream
~ pinch of salt
~ an air-tight GLASS jar
~ a WOODEN spoon (NO METAL!!)

Pour the 2 cartons of cream into the glass jar. Shake (shake...shake...SHAKE) for around 45 minutes. You will notice several stages while you are shaking....it will become creamy, then like whipped cream, then a little watery. ALL OF A SUDDEN, at around 45 minutes of shaking, you will notice that a complete ball has actually shaken loose from buttermilk!!

THAT'S YOUR BUTTER!! It's really such a miracle how it simple just 'appears'!

Take your wooden spoon and, while holding back the butterball, drain the buttermilk either down the drain or into a glass for your own drinking pleasure. Press and drain, press and drain, press and drain until hardly a trickle of milk is left.

Add a pinch of salt (or to taste), stir salt completely into butter and then store your butter in a crock or air-tight container.

I like soft butter so I leave mine on the counter in a crock. This will make just less than a pound, so it won't last long!


Blessings from Ohio, Kim Wolf<><

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Non-Ficton Amish Book GIVE-A-WAY!!

Wife, mother, former Amish & blogger at A Joyful Chaos is giving away a book written about the Amish. If SHE says it's good & authenticly portrays the Amish life-style...I'd believe her! :-)

Here's what she has to say about the book & how YOU can enter her give-a-way:

Books that accurately portray the Amish are hard to find, but I have found another one "Success Made Simple" written by Erik Wesner.

In this book Erik has interviewed many Amish people and made many friends. Not only does he share the Amish views of the business world and how they successfully navigate it but he also shares many other facts about the Amish.

If anyone is curious and would like to learn more about the culture I would recommend reading this book. If you would like to have the chance to win a copy for your own leave a comment telling me what is your favorite thing about spring.

To be entered twice put a link to this giveaway on your blog. I will draw the winner on Saturday April 3rd using Random generator.

Kitchen Questions 2010

1. Do you have magnets on your fridge? You mean, is there a fridge under my magnets?!

2. Do you have a calendar in your kitchen, if so, what's the theme of it? I have a calendar that my FIL gives all of his extended family every Christmas. He orders it from somewhere and it has HUGE daily squares to write in. We all love it.

3. What is your favorite kitchen gadget or tool? My wooden spatula.

4. Are you lucky enough to have a pantry of some kind? No.

5.What is your favorite appliance? My electric skillet and my bread maker (I let it knead the dough and rise there and then I bake it in my oven).

6. Do you have an eat in kitchen (table in it)? Yes.

7. Do you have a bread box? No.

8. Do you have a picture of your kids on the fridge? Yes (see photo above).

9. Do you ever cook breakfast in your PJs? Is there any other way?

10. Do you have a favorite cookbook that you use? Yes, an old Betty Crocker book and my own that I've added to since we got married 25 years ago.

11. Are you lucky enough to have recipes that were passed down from your mom or grandma? Yes, and they are in the cookbook that I've made for myself.

12. Whats your favorite food? Mexican, Italian and Briar (that's Ohio-speak for Kentucky country cooking)!

13. Whats your favorite thing to cook? Taco soup.

14. Is your coffee pot electric or stove top? Electric

15. Do you ever make your own bread? Yes, flaxseed bread, it's the only kind of bread we eat. At least at home.

16. Name one thing that you have hanging on your wall in your kitchen. The last Christmas my daddy was alive he made me a 6 ft. long shelf for my antique and reproduction tins. I also hang some of my garden herbs on it. I love it!

17. Is there a clock in your kitchen? Yes, on the stove and microwave.

18. Do you have a bowl of fruit sitting on your table or counter? Yes, a bowl of "Cuties" organges.
19. What type of canisters do you have? Country-type canisters w/gasket lids and a collection of antique canning jars.

20. Does your kitchen have a theme? Country w/antique and reproduction canning jars and tins - all serving a function, not just to look at - and a lot of blue sponge-ware.

21. What's for supper tonight? Not sure, possibly dirty rice.

22. Do you have enough cabinet space? I will once I clean them out - AGAIN.

23. Does your family use paper plates? On occasion - usually in the Summer & for Growth Group snacks.

24. Do you have a good set of china? Yes. It is what I have from our wedding. Actually, it's NOT the pattern I picked out - my mom went behind my back and changed my registry to what SHE liked and I didn't find out until we started opening our wedding gifts. I was blessed w/many sets so I kept them. Anyway...I have in mind that I would like to put them on e-bay and then get the one I REALLY wanted (English Rose OR Spode's American Woodland/Wildlife)...it's been 25 years, think she'll notice?

25. Do you wear an apron to work in your kitchen? Yes. I wear my grandma's "all over" apron when I fry or bake or I barrow my DD#2's apron she made as a homeschool project. I'd like to get another one so that I can keep my grandma's nice.

26. Name one thing, if anything, that you would like to change about your kitchen. Can I make it 3? Ok...1) a Farmer's sink, 2) a reproduction woodburning-looking stove, like a Heartland or something similar, w/gas burners; and 3) a new hardwood floor. (These were all planned before my sweet hubby got laid off last April.)
If you decided to take part in "Kitchen Questions 2010" on you blog, be sure to let other readers know in you comments!!

Blessings from Ohio, Kim Wolf<><

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~#72~ 3/29/10

For Today...

Outside my window...grey & drizzly. But...after today we will have a week of SPRING!! 60's tomorrow & 70's for the rest of the week. So far, the weather report says the Easter will be beautiful.

I am thinking...how sad it is that so many of my extended family members do not have Jesus as their Savior. NOT ONLY does it effect their character, their integrity, their speech, their habits, & their thinking & reasoning processes ~ but it effects their eternal destiny. I know there are no more tears in Heaven ~ PTL! ~ & it makes me wonder: Will the Lord wipe our memories clean of them so that we won't mourn their CHOICE of eternal destination OR, once we get to Heaven, will we be completely aware of the consequences of sin?

I am thankful for...my incredible DH, Ty, & my dear friends for loving me enough to completely & utterly trick me into a surprise birthday party at my favorite pizza place on Saturday!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! After the terrible morning I had, I SO needed the joy you brought!

From the kitchen...Hmmm...I need to make a trip to the farm stores. :-/

I am wearing...my jammies. It's a dark, rainy, lazy morning.

I am remembering…what an honor & priviledge it is to be a wife & mom.

I am going...to take DD#2 to work & work the night-shift at my job tonight.

I am reading...my Bible, in Daniel.

I am hoping...Easter will go by w/o a hitch in the extended family dept. :-?

On my mind…learning as much as I can, as quickly as I can, on my new pt-time job. I'm enjoying it well enough, but there is SO MUCH to learn about all the products in a health food store.

I am creating...a Christ-centered, peaceful home.

I am hearing...the radio, the dryer, my typing fingers, DD#2 puttering around.

Noticing that…I need new glasses.

Pondering these words…"Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality" ~ Beatrix Potter.

Around the house...errands, making some more washing detergent, Monday house-hold duties, studying the manual for my job.

One of my favorite things...singing praise & worship.

A Scripture thought..."That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, inpersecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~II Cor. 12:10. And, if I might add: When I am weak, then HE IS STRONG!!

A few plans for the rest of the week...work, taking DD#2 to/from work, house-hold duties, EASTER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

This is not my uncle, but I had an uncle to would do this to his cats while he was milking & it was SUCH a great 'show'! lol

Blessings from Ohio, Kim Wolf<><

Friday, March 26, 2010

Days Gone By...

Off and on something comes up about my modeling days and some of you will contact me by message or e-mail and ask about it. I modeled from the time that I was 9 until - literally - days before I married at 25. I also doubled as a make-up artist from 19 to around 32. I know...if you know me now you'd think that was impossible! lol I often say that I'm rebelling as I've given up the suits and 4" heels for jeans and Burkenstocks! And I'm MUCH happier now!!

But, I thought I'd share a few of my portfolio pics with you...

This is from my very first portfolio shot in 1969 at age 10. I had done a couple of runway shows before I even had a portfolio. I was with this agency until I was 16.
Different agency.
This was from 1977, age 18, taken in Downtown Dayton, Ohio. I always loved location shots and doing commercials. I really enjoyed the switch on a 'formal' look by going w/a tux instead of a long gown. I wish I could find a still of the "Arby's Days"...I used to do local Arby's commercials.
This was a fun headshot taken around 1980, age 21. I actually had a MONSTEROUS stack perm and calmed it down for the day's work! At this point I was also teaching at this particular agency part-time, working the Clinique counter at a dept. store full-time and trying to have a social life. I made myself sick from the stress and was hospitalized shortly after this was taken. That's when my modeling started to take a back seat ... my agency was NOT amused. I wasn't there that much longer and ended up going free-lance, which actually paid more anyway. So it worked out in the end.

Well, there's the show. It certainly seems like looking at a movie of another person's life now, and, in many ways, it is. I wasn't a Christian until I was 23 and the Lord is SO gracious, forgiving and good to me! I went through a broken engagement from an atheist, became a Christian in 1982 and married my wonderful Christian husband in 1984. I am undeserving and grateful!

As a side note...the last time I modeled were the last 2 months before we married, in 1984, in a wedding series that traveled to about 10 different stores. The wedding gown I had picked out for our own wedding happened to be in the show and the coordinators let me wear it in the shows in one of my sets!! My sweet Ty, when he would take me to some of the shows, knew which "bride's maids" walked out before me in the set when I wore my gown and he would lower his head and look at the floor until that set was over so that he wouldn't see me in my gown until I walked down OUR isle. Wasn't that sweet? He said that whenever I walked out in that gown the audience would ooo and ahhh and it was a terrible temptation to look. lol

So, there you have it. Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Blessings from Ohio, Kim Wolf<><

The Old Paths

~I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.
Brothers went into the army.
~And sisters got married BEFORE having children!
Crime did not pay;
Hard work did;
And people knew the difference.
~Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
Children would behave.
Husbands were loving;
Wives were supportive;
And children were polite.
~Women wore the jewelry;
And Men wore the pants.
Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;
And children looked decent.
~People loved the truth,
And hated a lie;
They came to church to get IN,
Not to get OUT!
~Hymns sounded Godly;
Sermons sounded helpful;
Rejoicing sounded normal;
And crying sounded sincere.
~Cursing was wicked;
Drugs were for illness;
And divorce was unthinkable.
~The flag was honored;
America was beautiful;
And God was welcome!
~We read the Bible in public;
Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!
~Preachers preached because they had a message;
And Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
Preachers preached from the Bible;
Singers sang from the heart;
And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!
~A new birth meant a new life;
Salvation meant a changed life;
Following Christ led to eternal life.
~Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!
~Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the Bible;
And churches taught the Bible.
~God was worshiped;
Christ was exalted;
And the Holy Spirit was respected.
~Church was where you found Christians
on the Lord's day, rather than in the garden,
on the creek bank, on the golf course,
Or being entertained somewhere else.
~I still like the old paths the best!
~~Author Unknown~~

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's Good to Know...

~ Removing candle wax: from inside a holder, place it in the freezer for about 5-15 minutes. When you remove it, the wax will be brittle & literally fall off the candleholder.

~ Fruit Fly Trap: fill a small bowl w/red wine vinegar & a few drops of dish soap. Sit on windowsill near fruit; the fruit flies are attracted to it & drown.

~ Oven & Microwave Cleaning:

  • Microwaves can be cleaned easily by putting a sponge soaked in white vinegar in the microwave & cooking it for 2 minutes. Don't open the microwave for about 5 minutes. The stuck on food should slide right off.
  • For ovens use a shallow pan w/a couple of cups of white vinegar and NO SPONGE. Cook for 5-10 minutes & leave in the oven to cool for about 30 minutes. Food will slide right off.
  • Squeeze lemon juice onto the sponge to keep it fresh - but to control germs, bleach it or run it through the dishwasher on a regular basis.

Blessings from Ohio, Kim<><

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

History Lesson: Courting Candles

While reading Karen's great blog, Homespun Simplicity, she was sharing her thrift store finds. Among them was a neat candle holder that she had never seen before. Oddly enough, not only do I know what type of candle holder she found, but I had even been planning on blogging about them & had forgotten. Thanks for the reminder, Karen!

What she had found are called "Courting Candles." And these were used by the fathers of girls who were courting in the Colonial days & early 1800s. It was sort of a 'timer' for the courting couple, the young suitor could stay until the candle touched the top of the holder...

If the dad LIKED the young suitor, he would put a long candle in the holder & screw it all the way up to the top - w/the maximum amount of candle showing. That way, the young man could stay the whole time the candle burned. If the father DIDN'T like the young man, he would use a shorter candle w/the holder screwed either further down or (YIKES!) ALL the way down &, once again, the young man would have to leave when the top of the candle burned down to the holder.

I'm sure every young man hoped to see a long candle screwed all the way up!

There's your history lesson for the day! :-)

Blessings from Ohio...Kim<><

Mama C's All-Purpose Cleaner

My mamma's handy-dandy clearner!

3 c. water

3 TB. white vinegar

3TB. ammonia

2 ts. rubbing alcohol

~ Mix together in a clean spray bottle, shake well before using.
Blessings from Ohio, Kim<><

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It Will All Be Different Now...

Welcome to the Socialist Republic of America!
Sadly, it's now official. W/the stroke of a pen, B.O. just destroyed the very last free nation on earth. At least we can say 'we remember when.' Fitting, don't you think, that THIS act of treason should happen on the anniversary of Patrick Henry's 1775 "Give me liberty or give me death" speech?
God IS STILL on the throne & this is happening for a reason.
Lord, please have mercy on us & help us learn our lesson quickly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
God bless America...again! Kim<><

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope that it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.

This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth -- to know the worst and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House?

Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation -- the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motives for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies?

No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer on the subject? Nothing.

We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer.
Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.

Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free -- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending -- if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak -- unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable -- and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
Patrick Henry - March 23, 1775

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~#71~ 3/23/10

For Today...

Outside my window...grey & misty, cold.

I am thinking...that I have so much to do today.

I am thankful for...my new part-time job.

From the kitchen...it will just be me for lunch, so I'll prabably just fix a bowl of hot cereal w/flaxseed meal. Supper...hmmm...not sure yet; something I can start & let DD#2 finish b/c I have to be at work at 4.

I am wearing...jeans, green shirt, no socks.

I am remembering…all the things rattling around in my head that I need to do.

I am going…to take DD#2 to work, have DD#1 over for a little bit in the afternoon & go to work in the late afternoon.

I am reading...Bible ~ in Mark.

I am hoping...that things work out at this job & that it takes some burden off of my sweet hubby.

On my mind…my head is swimming w/all the information I'm having to learn about the products at my new job. It's at a health food store so there's TONS of merchandise...so many little things.

I am creating...a haven of rest from a hard, hateful world for my family.

I am hearing...the radio, the dryer, a neighbor running a saw or a drill as they work on something outside.

Noticing that…I have my grandma's hands.

Pondering these words…"Becoming a Christian costs nothing; becoming a Disciple costs everything." ~ Tom Sager (our former pastor & close friend).

Around the house...it's a bread-baking day, so a fresh loaf of flaxseed bread will soon be mixing in the bread-maker & then into the oven; laundry (ALWAYS!), cleaning the downstairs bathroom.

One of my favorite things...red-winged blackbirds.

A Scripture thought...Proverbs 22:17-19 ~ "Pay attention & listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart & have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you."

A few plans for the rest of the week...taking DD#2 to/from work, a visit w/DD#1 (woohoo!!), my new job, tweaking an article to send in, comfirming a few things as I begin working w/the blog ministry of Titus 2~At the Well, enjoying family time.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

DD#2 loves dolphins. A friend of ours photo-shopped a photo of her w/one. Isn't this awesome?! How creative.

Blessings from Ohio, Kim Wolf<><

Monday, March 22, 2010

Do You Hear That...?

Listen!...Do you hear that?...What's that sound?

Could it be the sound of our Founders rolling over in their graves?!

If these good men could come back today, WHAT would they be thinking? Would they ask: "Are there no more Patriots left in Congress? Are there no more men or women 'serving' who CARE about their country or their children's freedom or their sacred honor?"

God, PLEASE have mercy on our country. In Jesus' mighty Name. Amen.
Blessings from Ohio, Kim<><

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A New Adventure

Starting a new part-time job today. I would appreciate your prayers.
Thank you, ahead of time!!

Blessings from Ohio...Kim<><

Friday, March 19, 2010

The End of an Era

I just couldn't let this go by without a mention.

I'm showing my age here, but since yesterday was my 51st birthday...I don't care. lol

My 1st T.V. hero & my very 1st movie star crush passed away yesterday, at age 85. Fess Parker ~ who played such legendary American historic heroes as Davey Crockett & Daniel Boone. One of the most natural actors ever, it always seemed like he may as well have been playing 'himself.' One of those actors that you never heard a discouraging word about ... or from. He had enough self-respect & grace to recognize when his 'era' of stardom was coming to an end, stepped down & went to the wine country of California & opened a multi-award winning vineyard & hotel, Fess Parker's Wine Country Inn & Spa. And, according to things I've read over the years, there he had the opportunity to enjoy is wife, his children & being a part of the lives of his 11 grandchildren.

We need more Fess Parker's in Movie-dom, today. Where are these fine men (& women) who are not only principled, honorable people, but have the grace to know that the world doesn't revolve around them?

I hope Fess is in the Lord's presence right now.

Blessings from Ohio...Kim<><

Thursday, March 18, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes...

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." ~~Quote from a child.

"...I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it." ~~Rev. 2:17

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Paddy's Day Meal ~ Corned Beef Hash & Irish Soda Bread

Today, I've decided to go green...for St. Paddy's Day. '-)

I have a good recipe for Corned Beef & Hash & wanted to find an authentic Irish Soda Bread recipe. I found an AWESOME website: European Cuisines. He even gives a great history lesson to go along w/your meal. (Homeschool credits!!) So, in case you're interested in my recipes ~ along w/all the others floating around the internet today ~ mine are tasty AND easy. That combination will nearly always get my vote! I think my Hash recipe came from Faithfulness Farm Blog, modified to my family's tastes.


2 TB vegetable oil (I use Safflower oil)
8 oz cooked corned beef, diced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped (optional ~ I don't use this)
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled & shredded (about 2 cups) (I sometimes use red potatoes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
4 slices cheddar cheese (about 2 oz)

~Heat the oil in the medium skillet over high heat.

~Add corend beef & cook, stirring w/a wooden sppon, until it releases soem fat & browns slightly, about 3 minutes.

~Stir in onion, bell pepper (optional) & potatoes & cook, UNDISTURBED, until brown & crips on the bottom, about 6 minutes.

~Continue cooking, turning the hash as it browns evenly, about 15 more minutes.

~MEANWHILE, heat the butter in another skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the eggs sunny-side up or over easy; season w/salt & pepper.

~Pleace the cheese slices on top of the hash, reduce heat & let sit until the cheese melts, about 1 minutes.

~Serve each hash serving topped w/one of the fried eggs.


A little soda bread history~~
Irish baking over the centuries has been affected by two main factors. The first is our climate. The influence of the Gulf Stream prevents either great heat in the summer or cold in the winter. As a result, hard wheats, which need such heat and cold, don't prosper. Those wheats make flour with a high gluten content that responds well to being raised with yeast. But soft wheats do grow well here.

The other factor has been the abundance of fuel. Ireland's various medieval overlords could never exercise the tight control over forest land that landowners did in more populous, less wild areas, like England and mainland Europe. This meant that Irish people had less trouble getting their hands on firewood. Where there was no wood, there was almost always heather, and usually turf too. As a result, anyone with a hearthstone could bake at home whenever they wanted to, rather than needing to use a communal bake-oven to conserve fuel.
These two factors encouraged the Irish householder of the past two centuries to bypass yeast for everyday baking. The primary leavening agent became what's now known here as bread soda -- just plain bicarbonate of soda, to US and North American users. Hence the name soda bread. But for a long time, most bread in Ireland was soda bread: "bakery bread" was only available in big cities. Soda bread was made either in a pot or casserole over the fire, or else baked on a bakestone, an iron plate usually rested directly in/on the embers. From these two methods are descended the two main kinds of soda bread eaten in Ireland, both north and south, to the present day.

About soda bread varieties~~

Cake style brown soda bread

In Ireland, "plain" soda bread is as likely to be eaten as an accompaniment to a main meal (to soak up the gravy) as it's likely to appear at breakfast. It comes in two main colors, brown and white, and two main types: cake and farl. People in the south of Ireland tend to make cake: people in Northern Ireland seem to like farl better -- though both kinds appear in both North and South, sometimes under wildly differing names.

Cake is soda bread kneaded and shaped into a flattish round, then deeply cut with a cross on the top (to let the bread stretch and expand as it rises in the oven). This style of soda bread is normally baked in an oven.

These days we'd normally bake it on a baking sheet / cookie sheet. But in earlier times, before ovens were commonplace, cake was routinely made in deep, lidded iron casseroles, hanging over the open fire or sitting right in it -- the casserole lids being concave to hold coals or burning turves from the fire on top, so that the bread would bake evenly in radiant heat from all sides.
The cake style of soda bread can of course be eaten hot. But it's more usual to let the loaf cool down before eating it (it's a little easier to handle then). It's also a lot easier to slice, and that's the way it's normally seen in supermarkets and convenience stores country-wide, in both brown and white versions.

White soda farls

Farl is rather different. When making farls, the soda bread dough is rolled out into a rough circle and cut all the way through, crosswise, into four pieces or farls ("farl" is a generic term for any triangular piece of baking), and usually baked in a heavy frying pan or on a griddle, on top of the range or stove rather than in the oven. It's a flatter bread than cake, and moister after the baking's finished. Each farl is split in half "the wide way" before eating. It's best when eaten hot off the griddle, but it's also allowed to cool and then grilled or fried as part of other dishes, especially the famous Ulster Fry.

One important note: in the US and North America generally, there's a tendency to think of soda bread as something with fruit in it. This is not the case in Ireland. While people have for many years sometimes added fruit to the basic dough as a treat or for a change of pace, this is not usually referred to as soda bread, but as tea bread, fruit soda, tea cake, and by many other names. We have recipes for these below as well. But everyday soda bread in Ireland does not contain fruit.

Making Irish soda bread at home~~

With all this said, all you need to know about soda bread is that it's really easy and quick to make. The urge to be resisted is to do more stuff to it than necessary... since this is usually what keeps it from coming out right the first few times. Once you've mastered the basic mixture and technique, though, you can have a fresh hot loaf of soda bread (or a foursome of soda farls) within an hour of starting.

Here's the basic recipe for white soda bread. All these measures are approximate. The flour's volume and liquid-absorptive capabilities, in particular, will vary depending on the local humidity.

3-1/2 cups flour (either cake flour or all-purpose)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional: you can absolutely omit this if you prefer sugar free soda bread)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (+ 1/2 ts if you are using "sweet"/plain milk)
8-10 fluid ounces buttermilk, sour/soured milk, or plain ("sweet") milk, to mix

****You can artificially sour some plain milk by adding a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 2 cups of milk and waiting 15 minutes or so for it to sour.

Buttermilk is usually the preferred mixing liquid: its acidity helps activate the bicarbonate of soda, releasing the carbon dioxide bubbles that make the bread rise. (If you prefer to make soda bread without buttermilk, there's no reason you can't, though the recipe works better with it. The flavor will be slightly different than when buttermilk is used, but the difference isn't enough to outrage local Irish sensibilities, so don't be overly concerned.)

~If you're making farl, find your heaviest griddle or non-sloping-sided frying pan (cast iron is best), and put it on to preheat at a low-medium heat. (You're going to have to experiment with settings. Farl should take about 20 minutes per side to get a slight toasty brown.) If you've decided to make cake, find a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 450°. Full preheating is vital for soda bread.

~Shaping & baking Cake: For cake, flatten the lump of dough to a slightly domed circle or flat hemisphere about 6-8 inches in diameter, and put it on the baking sheet (which should be dusted lightly with flour first). Then use a very sharp knife to cut a cross right across the circle. The cuts should go about halfway down through the sides of the circle of dough, so that the loaf will "flower" properly.

~Put the cake's baking sheet into the preheated oven. Handle it lightly and don't jar it: the CO2 bubbles in the dough are vulnerable at this point of the process.
Let the bread alone, and don't peek at it! It should bake for 45 minutes at 400-450° F. (One of our Irish neighbors suggests you give it the first 10 minutes at 450°, then decrease to 400°. Also, if you have a fan oven, use temperatures 10° lower or so, as fan ovens have a tendency to run hot.) At the end of 45 minutes, pick up the loaf and tap the bottom. A hollow-ish sound means it's done. For a very crunchy crust, put on a rack to cool. For a softer crust, as above, wrap the cake in a clean dishcloth as soon as it comes out of the oven.
~Shaping & cooking Farl on a Griddle: If farl is your choice, use the same very sharp knife to slice cut the circle of dough into four wedges. Try not to crush or compress the dough where you cut it (if the knife is sharp enough, you won't).

~Dust the hot griddle or frying pan with a very little flour, and put the farls on/in gently. The cut edges should be 1/2 inch or so apart to allow for expansion. Give the farls 20 minutes on a side. They should be a sort of mocha-toasty color before you turn them. Keep an eye on the heat -- they scorch easily. When finished, take the farls off the heat and wrap them in a light dishtowel, hot side down. (The residual steam works its way up through the soda bread and softens the crust formed by the process of baking on the griddle, making it more amenable to being split and toasted later.)

Both ways, the soda bread is wonderful sliced or split and served hot, with sweet butter and/or the jam or jelly of your choice.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~#70~ 3/16/10

For Today...
Outside my window...beautiful, sunshine!! Hello, Sunshine. I've missed you!

I am thinking...about the job interview I had yesterday.

I am thankful for...a husband who loves the Lord, loves me, loves our girls & works so hard to make ends meet.

From the kitchen...fresh loaf of my flaxseed bread.

I am wearing...jeans, black pull-over shirt with 3/4 sleeves.

I am remembering…34 years ago, today.

I am going…to take DD#2 to work & then going to the farm stores w/my friend, Emily.

I am reading...my new Bible. Now that I have all of my notes, highlights & underlines transferred from my old Bible, I'm really enjoying this one. It's smaller & lighter weight & fits nicely in my hands.

I am hoping...the next few days go as well as possible for some dear friends of ours who lost their mom/gr-ma.

On my mind…making ends meet.

I am creating...a peaceful home.

I am hearing...the radio, my bracelet jangling while I type.

Noticing that…I need a hair cut (I want it cut like my photo again).

Pondering these words…"The written word is man's greatest invention." ~ Abe Lincoln.

Around the house...repair man coming out to fix the porch roof. :-/

One of my favorite things...sitting on our log front porch swing, reading & listening to the birds, watching the chipmonks skitter past w/their little tails pointing straight up to the sky.

A Scripture thought...Proverbs 15:16 ~ "Better a little w/the fear of the Lord than great wealth w/turmoil."

A few plans for the rest of the week...taking DD#2 to/from work, attending a funeral, household duties, DD#1 coming over for my b-day on Thursday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
A beautiful Celtic cross in honor of St. Patrick. Who...as a descendant of Scotts, I'm glad to say...was SCOTTISH!!!!!!!!!!!! ~lol~

Blessings from Ohio, Kim Wolf<><

Monday, March 15, 2010

Go Bananas!

The information that comes across our e-mails is sometimes SO amazing. Looky, looky what I found out...

A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression 'going bananas' is from the effects of bananas on the brain.

Read on: Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!! This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again...

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system. Overweightand at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness.. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases.. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use (quitting): Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!'
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