Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mini Seasonal Cobblers



I have discovered that if you want some baked deliciousness in half the time you just have to make it a mini. This cobbler was cooked in 30 minutes with approximately 15 minutes of prep. If you choose the stone fruit version prep will be longer as you have to chop up the fruit first.
I desperately wanted to take advantage of the berry season so after stocking up I hovered around my fridge trying to sum up some cooking inspiration. What started as a berry scone attempt turned into a berry cobbler thanks to my husband who’s initial “yucky faces” turned into hopeful puppy dog eyes when I mentioned the potential of making a cobbler instead.
This recipe makes approximately 4 8oz ramekins. Ramekins have become an essential piece of my culinary equipment and are ideal for any individual desserts.

Ingredients:2 cups berries (Due to some unexpectedly rotted berries I used a box of raspberries, half a box of black berries, and a few blueberries.)
¾ cups water
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sugar

• Pick over and wash berries. Place in saucepan with 1/4 cup sugar, and water.
• Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour equal amounts into 4 greased tart pans.
• Cream butter, 1/3 cup sugar, egg and vanilla until well blended.
• Mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add to creamed mixture along with the milk. Beat until smooth. Spoon batter over hot berries. (if batter sinks in don't worry. It puff up nicely during baking)
• Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes or until browned. Serve warm, plain, with ice cream or whipped cream.



The cobblers actually popped up like little souffl├ęs in the oven. Yumo!


Mini Peach mango Cobbler

Once again inspired by my husband I decided to attempt a stone fruit version, as peach cobbler is his favorite. This also turned out quite nicely. I followed the same recipe with a couple changes.
• Substitute: 2 cups of diced peaches and mangos for 2 cups berries (My fruit was slightly unripe so I cooked it longer on the stove. Remember if you do this you must add additional water and/or fruit as the longer you cook it the more it will reduce leaving you with not enough fruit per ramekin.)
• Substitute: ½ teaspoon of almond extract for the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
• Addition: ¼ teaspoon cinnamon to fruit reducing on stove.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and if you discover any more creative versions please feel welcome to share!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Battle of the Bug


With the onset of another promising summer I have now become the ungracious host to many of Gods smaller, creepier creations. My personal feelings towards these minuscule yet surprisingly hardy little creatures are indeed complicated and I'll simply say with the utmost sincerity..."Bless their little hearts". This of course is stated while I reach for the closest form of hand held death whether it be in the form of a shoe, paper towel, liquid bleach, or (my personal favorite) the vacuum cleaner.

In fact after a weeks struggles with the sugar loving critters I have come to the conclusion that God understood the large portion of a woman's life that would be spent pushing around the vacuum cleaner. Therefore in an attempt to squelch a complete animosity towards this house hold appliance, He allowed us to discover its second and more rewarding application. The quick and clean dispatchment of any bug who dare invade our hollowed food preparation grounds. Believe it or not this whole experience has been quite inspirational and with a renewed vigor I decided to turn to the renowned words of Mrs. Dunwoody to discover some tried and true all natural insect remedies. I hope you find these tips helpful and to all tired house wives... I bid you... good bug killing!

Cockroach Chasers

Mix 4 tablespoons of borax of boric acid, 2 tablespoons of flour, and 1 tablespoon of cocoa power. Set out in open containers in the kitchen away from children and pets. For a simpler solution, sprinkle borax in cockroach paths. Cockroaches, unlike some of the people who have them, are very clean; as the preen themselves, they will ingest any boric acid that is sticking to them.


Cucumber in an effective cockroach chaser. The vegetable has a naturally occurring repellent that cockroaches avoid.

Though it is untested a combination of 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar is theorized to make cockroaches explode. Can any one say "science fair project"?



The ants go marching one by one


To deter ants, make sure your kitchen shelves are wiped down well, free from any food remains. Wash the shelves with salt and water. Mint tea, citrus juice, salt, cinnamon, garlic, and boric acid are also good at repelling ants.

To destroy a ants nest, mix 1 part confectioners sugar with 1 part borax. Sprinkle the mixture over a piece of wood near the nest. The sugar will attract the ants, and the borax will poison them. Pouring boiling hot water over an ant mound is also effective and a little easier.



Good night, sleep tight, don't let the... yikes!
In case you haven't heard there has been a severe out break of bed bugs across our country. Many a devout craigslist shopper is weeping in dispair as it has become down right dangerous to part take of those tantalizing second hand furniture deals. Though this recipe is a little odd I felt it my duty to include it considering the higher then usual demand.

Add a thimbleful of quicksilver to the white of an egg; beat until well mixed; apply with a feather to the bedclothes upon rising. Quicksilver? Feather? Upon rising? I'm pretty sure that the odds of me burning my furniture and sleeping on the floor are higher but for all you ambitious people good luck!

Mosquito

Dab lavender oil on our pulse points. Yes ladies, now you can beg your hubby for that expensive lavender perfume with the valid argument that its for the sake of your health!



Rats last supper

Mix equal amounts of powdered cement and flour. Set next to a pan of water. Though this does not usually appeal to house hold pets you might consider a different option if "poopsie" is a particularly adventurous eater.

I offer up my thanks to "Mrs. Dunwoodys excellent instructions for homekeeping". I have been thoroughly educated and can't wait to try out some of the bug deterring recipes.... Bless their little hearts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

C.S. Lewis and the Science Fiction Trilogy



When one thinks of C.S. Lewis I can imagine that their mind automatically sums up images of Lions, white witches, and our beloved Pevensie siblings. However the vast fictional imagination of C.S. Lewis did not stop at The Chronicles of Narnia. Indeed, in a piece of literature with more astounding depth and imagination, Lewis created a fantastical fiction specifically relevant for adults and the modern day we live in.
Now I’m going to attempt to do a quick explanation of these books with out spilling the beans. I’ll have to bite my tongue a few times I’m sure.



Out of the Silent planet.

One thing that I find interesting about this series is the pace at which Lewis develops his ever-present types and shadows of Christianity. As I began Out of the Silent Planet I was on the look out. However as the colorful, detailed images flourished in my mind I was soon wrapped up in the story and began reading with out motive. This book merely scratches the surface of the full depth of this series.


Perelandera.

I often found myself fighting my own preconceived notions of what this second book was going to be about. In an effort of creativity that I am truly astounded by; Lewis’s imagery went leaps and bounds beyond the first book. Even with my healthy imagination I had to at times stop and absorb all that I was reading so as not to miss the depth and beauty of the fictional world he created. Abruptly mid way through, the book changes gears and the intensely imaginative world becomes merely a backdrop for a story of incredible relevance and reality. A fearsome struggle between good and evil begins and the brutality of evil its self is introduced in a most vivid way. For all who are faint of heart I would suggest taking caution from here on in. Things are about to get very real.



That Hideous Strength.

The very essence of this book I believe is stated in its title. The setting of this story once again stunned me because it was so vastly different from the first two. I kept checking to see if I had indeed picked up the final installment of the correct series. Once again I offer a warning to anyone with a weaker constitution. C.S. Lewis created this story for adults and in doing so he did not hesitate to display evil in all of its ferocity. I believe often we fail to recognize that the subtlest of sins are backed by a most hideous strength. The evil that is empowering the gossiper is the same evil that is enforcing the murderer and the devils objectives never change. Of course one can always resort to skipping pages if need be. And I might suggest reading it in full daylight. ;D

However I do not want these thoughts to deter you because as the reality of evil is portrayed in this book, so also is the reality of unity. We know as Christians that if we ever truly understood the principal of “Unity with Christ” the very bonds of this earth could no longer hold us. I felt as though this was an appropriate post to follow “What God has joined together…” as Lewis touches on this principal in its most common type, the consecrated marriage.
Though I could go on I feel as though I’ve left you with enough information to make an educated decisions. Now you can choose whether or not you want to take on this stunning and thought provoking piece of literature.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What God has joined together...





"Mawiage, mawiage is wah bwings us twogever twoday..." The Princess Bride

Five years ago today Roger and I met to join hands in matrimony under the sweltering Arizona sun. The soaring temperatures were abated only by the lush Victorian garden that surrounded us. Close to two hundred friends and family watched, armed with bottled water and fans, as we exchanged vows. At that time I couldn't have possibly comprehended the astounding depth and spiritual relevance of the relationship I was about to partake of. Even now, five years later, I consider myself to be a novice on the topic. However I do believe that God has revealed to me some of the life altering types and principles that lay with in our earthly contract of marriage.





"I wanna talk about me, I wanna talk about I, I wanna talk about number one me my oh my..." Toby Keith

“We are entitled” is the modern cry of our country. What started with the pure thought of liberty has now degraded into a lack of integrity and sadly this deficiency has invaded and even permeated our views of matrimony. The sanctified image of a man and woman before God, vowing their life long love and commitment is irrevocably tainted as those vows prove to be merely empty words, wasted breath, and to some, condemning curses.





“ And the twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Mark 10:8

In a world where the health, prosperity, and happiness of ones self is such a high priority I find it odd that the strong principals of self preservation are so severely abandoned as “one flesh” is often torn asunder.





“For we see this the word of promise. She, the bride that a man would choose, is going to reflect his character. It reflects what’s in him.” William Branham

Perhaps this frequent rending of marriages and families really is the surface symptom of a marred character. I believe that our own weaknesses can in fact be our greatest tormentors. And when you see distaste and even hatred between two people who have shared the essence of themselves in marriage one has to wonder if it is their own character reflected back that they hold in such contempt. Perhaps if we can remember this thought we will learn not to judge our spouses negative attributes so harshly.





As we listen to the cry of the world around us and franticly struggle for equality and even superiority we have forgotten that the beauty in marriage comes from yielding. Just as our Heavenly Father yielded up the ghost out of love. We must yield out of love to one another. God did not leave us empty handed. Ephesians five explains beautifully the positions of a husband and wife summing up with

“ Let every one of you in particular love his wife even as him self: and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Eph 5:33

I believe if we could learn to let go of our entitlements and obey the bread of life that God has given us in his word we will see stronger marriages and fewer families sacrificed in the fruitless pursuit of self.

“You do not fail in obedience through a lack of love, but have lost love because you never
attempted obedience.” C.S. Lewis




Thanks

Before I embark on my blogging quest I just want to give a little shout out to all the ladies who have inspired me with their blogs of substance. I always thought that blogs were just another outlet of complaint in the average persons life. However now I see that they can instead be a outlet for discovery and creativity. I figure that once baby lands I will have very little time to express these things so hopefully I can take advantage of my newfound personal soapbox. So thanks to you lovely ladies and Happy Blogging!