Saturday, August 30, 2008

Things You Might Take For Granted ~


In the many months of stuff, that goes on around our home; at the moment. For instance - packing for a eminent future move, where your not sure just yet where you'll end up. As well as, trying to do that "garage sale" your not looking forward to; so you don't have to drag it with you. Or trying to keep up with everything else. As, keeping the inside clean and the yard nice. It still gets dirty and weeds still grow. I can't do it all - even though I've been trying. My husband helps when he is able but, lately he hasn't be able to do to much. We recently found out he has fragments of bone in his lower spine; which is attributing to the newer wave of pain he's experiencing. Needless to say it's been hard on both of us.
As I've been going around the house; why is it that you notice things like, we never really used the dining room. Actually twice, maybe even three time in the almost eight years of living here. That is just one of the many things we've taken for granted. The thought used to be, when we lived in other places, "well we live here now." Thinking that there's have loads of time to enjoy something. Nothing could be further from the truth.
So after we organized the boxes to be able to show the rooms off. I made a nice Italian dinner of spaghetti and Meatballs . I also made Bread Sticks to enjoy with it. The point is it wasn't the meal so much as the use of the room and the company. Why wait and miss the opportunity to enjoy what you have and be thankful that you do.
It's like saving the good towels for quests and special occasions, that never seems to happen. You should be using them. Enjoying them yourself and your family.
Let's be happy today. Use your dining room! Life is short!
Enjoy your life.
Be thankful for it;
And, your many blessings.
Let the Lord be your pilot,
And, live for Him today.
I pray that today, your hearts will be grateful.
I pray that you don't lose sight of what's important.
I pray with the Lords help we'll get through.
August 31, 2008 VB

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A New Blog Spot!

Today after much consideration, I decided I would go ahead a start a new blog. I'm hoping it will work well coinciding with Refracted Lite. The name is: Savoring Flavors. I had many names liked but many like them also and they were already being used. The blog will be just for recipes etc. So we'll see how it all pans out, no pun intended. I'm hoping this will be a plus not a minus to my blogging. There are time when I do a lot of cooking and I always love trying new recipes as well as, creating my own. and, if it all works together it will be a miracle. Much like the pic below. Well maybe not like potatoes but a miracle non the less.

Now about this picture. . .


My husband and I started recycling quite some time ago and during that time we talked off and on about starting a compost pile. So Jim, made a small compost area way out back. We recycled materials we had lying around to construct a box. We figure we'd see just how well this would work out before making a better with better materials.

We kept taking compost stuff from the kitchen like, peels, vege's on there way out, etc, even coffee grounds. Then we tried to follow the "composting recipe." Well it filled up. Then we didn't take stuff out. We noticed there were plants growing on the top. Jim thought they might be tomatoes. That didn't surprise me for we seem to have them growing around other places. They started on there own from seeds that dropped from previous plants.

So to make what seems to be a long story shorter. As I was out mowing, I thought I'd check. I looked at the plants and they did have some little flowers on them (similar to tomato) but, they weren't tomato plants. At this point thinking they are now weeds I started pulling them up. Out came potatoes. Awesome. . I then started putting the plants back. The dirt was great and I'm hoping the potatoes will make it.

God gives us miracles everyday. We need to start recognizing them for the real blessing they are.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Instead Of. . . .

Do you ever feel like this?

Someone sent this to me some time back. Many of you probably received it also and I'm also certain it made the rounds a couple times at least. It was labeled Tough Love. The boy in the picture reminds me of our eldest son Matt when he was that age. Same hair cut and color. Actually the more I look at it, it might just be him. Kidding. Maybe that's why I've liked the picture so much and hung on to it. Its also plain funny.
Lately, I feel the world around me is going this fast. When you are feeling pressure to move along and get things done. And, to you they just don't seem to get done. Even though things are; it just looks like more to do. WORK. . . Stuff. . .
So in my groofy thoughts today I jotted this down. It is a beautiful day.


The sun shining so bright today.
Oh, how I wished I could go out to play.
Instead. . . .
Or go for a drive on a winding treed road.
And, stop for a picnic under a big oak.
Instead. . . .
I could be checking little shops I love,
Maybe sit along the sidewalk; just watching.
Instead. . . .
I should be sewing up a storm.
And, finish a quilt to keep someone warm.
Instead. . . .
How about walking on a beach somewhere.
Or just sitting; soaking up the ocean air.
Instead. . . .
I could even go outside;
And lay upon the soft green grass.
Instead. . . .
I know this list could go on,
On and on, on and on, on and on –
Instead. . . .
I’ll pray that I might have a good day.
And, while I’m here; I’ll dream.

August 18, 2008 VB
There's so many things I truly would rather be doing. The most important one though is not to forget the Lord who's given me this beautiful day.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blogging

I've been thinking about starting another blog just for recipes and the like, but before I do I'd like your input. My husband likes the idea. And, there are those that like the recipes I post; and, others who like other parts of my blog. There are a number of recipes I would like to share, including some of my own creations, however, I don't want them (recipes) to take over this blog. Although including a few recipes here and there is fine, it's not exactly what I intended this blog to be.

Since I have a lot on my plate so to speak, and don't always -- as of resent – have time to write regular postings, I thought a blog dedicated to recipes might be the answer. In spite of being so busy I do, however, take time to try new recipes — well, you still have to eat, right? What do you think about the idea of a separate blog for recipes?

Also, I've been trying to think of a good name for the new blog, Jim likes “Vik's Fixins.” What name do you think would be a good one? Maybe I could talk my brother into doing a recipe blog with me. He is a great cook, though we cook’s don't necessarily cook the same. Maybe we could do a Sib thing.

Anyway, I'd love to hear from you. V

Friday, August 15, 2008

It Was A Gorgeous Day A The Track!


Well not exactly. But, today is a day that will go down in history. . . That's Monica history. :D Monica (in pink) is my neighbor and "bestest" friend. She's pretty much been a part of my life, since we moved here.
Monica has been going to horse camp at Bainbridge Equestrian Center since she was about 8. I can't believe time flies so fast. She started with a horse about the size of Bojangles in the picture. At the time, she came up to the horses upper thigh I think. It's a wonderful camp that teaches just about everything from caring for a horse - riding. This year the riders had to share horses; so Monica and Halley shared Bojangles (Bo). This actually was a wonderful opportuntiy to learn partership. Working together to care for something.
She is growing into a beautiful young girl and a great equestrian. I've enjoyed everything I've ever gone to for Monica. Whether it was a play, parade even a chorus recital. I'm so happy (as well as Jim) to have had the opportunity to to be apart of her life. Making happy memories I will cherish.

Monica is here riding few years back. WOW!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Random Thoughts

It's been said, "A picture is worth a thousand words." I can think of but one. HELP!


Psalm 121: 1-3
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.

And you thought I was kidding about the maze of boxes. I've been looking at them for some time now, and like them even less. Pictures are good though. They help you remember how far you've come. Or proof you're getting some things done. However, I'd much rather take pictures for fun and good memories. If you take pictures of family and friends here's a helpful tip. Please write the date and their names on them. That way you'll know who they are just incase you can't remember. It's also useful for your children when they haven't a clue as to who they are.
(That is the people in the photo's) My Unc and I have a time with that. Looking at old pictures from the early 1900's and you know you're suppose to know, but the names weren't included.

Anyway, Where does ones help come from? The Lord has been faithful even when I'm not. One day I'm hoping to get to that other side of the tunnel.

To friends and family
Far and near.
To all of you
I hold so dear.
Memories of those
Who've come and gone.
And, all the blessings
From the Son.
With good times and bad times:
And all those in between times.
For the should ofs
And the could ofs.
From being young
And growing old;
There's no going back,
From what the future holds.
Always looking up
"My thoughts and
Work in progress."

8-7-08 VB

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hi Kids,

Well I have nothin. . . .

It's Sunday again, I can't believe another week has gone by. Today it feels kind of Fallish. Is this even a word? I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. It's much to early for it but very pleasant indeed. My husband said I even have the perfect music playing. Maybe, when I figure things out blog wise, I'll have music on my blog.

I've been so busy - - - - working inside and outside. Doing everything! From weeding to packing, even polishing rims. Long story. My new unofficial - official title is Jill of all trades, hee hee. It just sounds better than Jack. A couple things of that I've done this week, in between everything else is; picking and drying more blueberries. I started some blueberry vinegar, for a salad I saw. The vinegar takes about 10 - 12 days in the frig. I also made another batch of scones. This recipe was gluten free. It is excellent. I've had many gluten free baked goods and wanted to try baking something myself to see the difference to wheat flour. So Nicole this recipe is for you, though you may have already tried one.


I'm hoping when things get back to normal, and I will too.

Gluten Free Blueberry Hazelnut Scones


Pre-heat oven 400 degrees

Ingredients:

1- 1/4 cup of GF Surgham Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)

1/2 Tapioca Flour

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. Baking Soda*

1 -1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar * see note

4 Tbsp butter cold and cut in slices

2/3 cups of Yogurt low fat or other (I used whole)

1 large egg

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup chopped med. fine Hazelnuts (I just happen to have)

2 Tbsp of 1/2 &1/2, whole cream or the white of one egg with a little milk for brushing tops

course raw sugar* (I have this around to sprinkle on tops)

I placed all dried ingredients in bowl. Stirred together. Then put in butter slices and cut into (mix with pastry blender or to knives). It should resemble crumbs. You can of course use a food processor but I like mixing the old fashioned way.

Stir in dried blueberries and nuts. Make a well. Combine egg and yogurt, pour into the well and lightly fold from the outside in till it all comes together. Don't over work it. The pastry will seem a little lighter or fluffier than flour. I scooped equal spoons and placed on lightly oiled cookie sheet. (or sprayed) It makes 6 large scones. It was a little sticky but smooth top and around the sides a bit, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar if you are using.

I baked 18 -20 minutes til golden or as in photo. Use your best judgement, ovens tend to be different. Cool on wire rack.

*I didn't have cream of tartar and wasn't sure what to you and didn't really know that much about it. So I search and found that if you have a recipe that calls for cream of tartar and soda, you can substitute baking powder for both. In other words don't use either and use baking powder. Making up the difference in quantity. This recipe calls for 3/4 tsp soda and 1-1/2 cream of tartar. You would use 2-1/4 tsp baking powder. I used 2 tsp of baking powder and it worked.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Perfect Sunday Breakfast Food - Or Any Day

When you think of tortilla [tohr-TEE-yuh], what do you think of? Most would say flour or corn. In a past post I did; "I found it of May 2008," my quest of the perfect Tortilla recipe. Lead me to another discovery. The Spanish Tortilla or Tortilla de patatas and also known as the Tortilla Espanola - Spanish Potato Omelet. What a Delicious discovery it's been. It has become a favorite here. This is a comfort food that doesn't set heavy on your stomach or upset it. It's also fairly simple to make though takes some planning and maybe a little more time than most omelets.
Ingredients are as follows: 4 potatoes, 1 large onion, salt and olive oil. Other things you'll need is 1 large pan (skillet), 1 smaller pan (like omelet), large plate for flipping and utensils.

Clean and slice potatoes fairly thin and onions also. Keep separate. Some cooks start the potatoes and the onions in the pan together, your choice.
Heat large pan and then add olive oil. I watch a number of people on [you tube] making this recipe and they used way -- to much -- oil. I used just enough to cook up potatoes and onion as not to stick; 2-3 tablespoons should be good. Use your best judgement on it.
When the pan and oil are ready, put in potatoes and start cooking. Add salt to taste.

When potatoes are a quarter of the way into cooking add onions and a little more salt. Cook until they are done but not over browned or crispy. Just like in the next photo.
When the potatoes and onion are done place in bowl. Beat 4 eggs until there's mixed fairly well but not frothy.
Pour eggs over the potatoes and onions; mix thoroughly but gently.

Get a smaller pan like and omelet pan ready. Med - med. high heat. Heat than add oil as in first step. You don't need as much oil only enough to keep from sticking. When pan is ready pour in veges and egg mixture. Once in the pan tuck it in around the sides but do not mix or stir.
Let cook until the bottom is set. Now for the fun part.
You need a plate larger than the circumference of the top of the pan. (I don't but I'm pretty good at this). Take a spatula and loosen tortilla so you can flip out easily. Place plate over the top and with a good grip turn over. If all goes well it should be in the plate.

Once you've done this slide it back into the same pan. Cook til the bottom is set.
Slide it out onto serving plate and enjoy. Serve it with fruit and tortillas (flour). Or anything you might prefer. It serves 4 and good size portions.
Here are some links you might be interested in and if you are a little concerned about flipping. Try doing smaller portions to start. Also you can have fun, add garlic or green chili. Use your imagination.
Here is the you tube version I used.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Just Hello.

It’s been several days since I posted. The last post of course, was sharing the beautiful morning I had picking blueberries. I could probably try a poetic start like, “Amongst the piles of belongings (just stuff) that are in disarray to what seems like an endless maze of boxes.” I’d really prefer talking about something else then packing. Moving tends to be a pain anyway you slice it. And, when you’re older, nah, I won’t go there. So if you could indulge me, back to some berry talk. I decided to try something different this year than from the previous years of just freezing. Drying.
I dried the blueberries in the oven and to my surprise they turned out pretty well. My husband is going to make a dehydrator for us to use next time -which I’m hoping will be soon for there still plenty to pick. You can make them easily out of many things from just using a light bulb to something solar. There are many ideas on the Internet. One plan I found is making them out of cardboard boxes and since we seem to have plenty lying around I thought it would be a good place to start. Storage should be easy with the blueberries being dried and the shelf life is indefinite. I read this recently on drying. I think it's great and the uses are endless. Well almost. I made blueberry scones yesterday and used dried blueberries instead of fresh. I like it much better. Our youngest son Aaron was here and he thought they were great, if fact he thought they were the best scones he’s ever had. I have to agree. Recipe follows. Blueberries are so good for you and there are other recipes I’d like to try. One is Blueberry vinegar for a salad I saw. So I definitely have to go and get more, the berries need to be fresh.
Our eldest Mat loves blueberries: he could tell you that there packed full of antioxidants that are good for you. I try as often as I can to send him a a care package when he's out to sea. The berries will be a nice surprise for him to since they're healthy and easy to store. Being that there's limited space on a sub. And, with postage the way it is; the idea of less weight is very appealing and dried blue berries seemed to be just the ticket.

Lastly ~ if you’re ever stress about something. Like moving, here's what I did today. I took all my lavender from a previous harvest; since I wasn't to sure they’d make the move. It was on to the next best and very smart thing. I made stress packs. Ha. Or should I say stress free packs. I removed all the buds from the stocks and placed them in muslin sacks. This did take some time but I can tell you I wasn’t stress at all for the entire time. However, I need to say the very best thing is to give your cares and concerns to the Lord. Be thankful for all things and in all situations.

1 Thessalonians 5 16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

~

Blueberry Scones



2 cups flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup of blueberries (dried)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

2/3 cup heavy cream (you can use half and half or buttermilk)

Egg mixture for brushing tops of scones:

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tbsp milk


In a large bowl I put all the dry ingredients, including the dried berries. If using fresh or frozen berries don't put them in at this time. Mix together, then put in butter and blend together with a pastry cutter, or two knives etc. Whatever works for you. When it resembles coarse crumbs your fresh or frozen berries would go in at this point, add cream. Stir just until the dough comes together without over mixing. You can lightly knead in bowl or turnout onto a lightly floured surface. I then rolled out dough into a square to about 3/4 - 1" in height. Cut cut to make 4 squares then cut each square into 2 triangles. Place on a baking sheet line with parchment or lightly oiled. Brush on milk and egg white mixture. Bake at 400* for 20 minutes.

This morning Sat. August 2,08; I made another batch so I could post a photo. This batch I used wheat pastry flour and half & half. I also forgot the sugar and had to knead it in. I was bummed but, they turn out light and yummy as the first. The first batch was creamier. Both turned out and were excellent.