Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Chili Recipe - SCD Safe

I confess, I am a recipe follower.  Rarely do I deviate from what is written on the card (or page or website).  But lately I have been trying to use some wheat-free, dairy-free recipes - and lots of them are just not so good.  We were craving chili and I wanted to try something from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet - have friends who are on it.  But we weren't satisfied with what I found.  So, horror or horrors - I got creative.

The result was REALLY good.  I have made lots of chili recipes over the years - but this is our favorite - and it is by far the healthiest!  Hope you like it.

Lauren's Chili 
2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained (I prefer grass fed - but can't always afford it)
l pound dried black beans prepared as directed, drained - about 6-7 cups of black beans
           (could use canned, but for SCD use home cooked from dried beans - if using canned
           please drain and rinse to remove excess salt)
46 ounces tomato juice  (use one without added sugar or other ingredients)
2 cups beef broth
2 tsp chili powder
1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
(Could add minced onion as well - but my family is not a big fan)
1Tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
3 tsp red pepper flakes
2-3 medium carrots - finely grated
1-2 cups lentils (rinsed, sorted and soaked for 30 minutes)

* In a large skillet brown ground beef then drain grease.  Add garlic, all spices and carrots.  Cook for a few minutes on medium heat.
*Pour beef into a large stock pot.  Pour in tomato juice and beef broth.  Add black beans and lentils.  Simmer for at least one hour - if not two or three! (Of course you can serve it as soon as it is warm, but simmering infuses all the flavors and softens the lentils.  I don't like them crunchy.) 
* Makes enough to feed a huge crowd!  Can't give number of servings because no one wanted to count!
* I have had great success with freezing this chili as well.  Seems to keep up to two months from my experience.  Sill yummy!  Put it in a microwavable bowl and take it out any time you need a quick, hearty meal.  I freeze mine in single serving bowls.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Great Article on Pornography

I am the mom of a teenage boy.  I love my son and want him to experience life without the shame, guilt, and degrading effects of porn.  I know we have an uphill battle.  A recent article stated that 66% of men and 40% of women regularly view porn.  It is an epidemic, and it is attacking our young men the most viciously.

I read this article from The Gospel Coalition and feel compelled to share it.  My desire for my husband and my son (and my daughters for that matter) is that they will know the truths of this article.  That is what I desire for my church.  It is what we should be praying for.  It's something we should be talking about.  Too many people are suffering under the weight of sin in silence, trapped by shame.

This is an article by Tim Chester from the Gospel Coalition website.  Share this link with anyone who will read it.

Talk about it.

Porn-Free Church: Sex, God, and the Gospel

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

WOW - New Music Suggestion

Several of my friends have been mentioning this song on Twitter.  Watch it and you will see why!  Then go to Vimeo and watch the other two videos.  I don't know anything about them, but this is AMAZING!!

The Lone Bellow

SerialBox Presents: THE LONE BELLOW from SerialBox Presents on Vimeo.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thoughts on Fidelity

In August Steve and I celebrated our 23rd year of marriage.  Never could I have fathomed 23 years!  Never could I have imagined how much better marriage would be now.  It didn't make sense in my brain - to be old and to be in love sounded boring. Oh, how wrong I was...  The safety and peace of knowing and being known is overwhelming in such a beautiful way.  As we look ahead at our kiddos all being out of the house (still four years away!) I can actually have joyful anticipation.  Who would have thought?  As always, Wendell Berry puts words to my swirling thoughts...  

The Blue Robe
How joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know

each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. And now

we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves:
how joyful to feel the heart quake

at the sight of a grandmother,
old friend in the morning light,
beautiful in her blue robe!

I don't often talk about the idea of being beautiful.  This is never a word I use when speaking of myself.  But thankfully my husband does!  What a miracle of God! :)  That Steve would think of me as beautiful - that he would consider me his standard of beauty.  It is a more valued gift than any other he has given me.  How does this happen?  It is a developed gift - not an instantaneous feeling.  Of course when you are young there is that attraction of beauty.  But I am older now, different than I was then.  But my amazing husband has kept his eyes only on me.  He has cherished the gift of me.  He does not compare me.  I do not ask him to.  We do not talk of the beauty of other women or men.  We work hard to avoid that pit of "Do you think I'm as pretty as...?" or "Who is more beautiful?  Handsome?"  He honors me and, though I don't deserve it, he loves me.  God has honored this covenant with fidelity.  I love that old fashioned word.  It means the quality or state of being faithful.  It's what makes the grandmother in the blue robe beautiful.  It is what makes the man with the stoop and the cane handsome.  Look at how thesaurus.com defines it:

Part of speech:  adjective
Definition:  loyal, reliable
Synonyms:  affectionate, allegiant, ardent, attached, confiding, conscientious, constant, dependable, devoted, dutiful, enduring, fast, firm, genuine, honest, honorable, incorruptible, loving, on the level, resolute, sincere, staunch, steadfast, steady, straight, sure, tried, tried and true, true-blue, trustworthy, trusty, truthful, unchanging, unswerving, unwavering, upright.

What a picture of Christ.  He is all of those things.  He is true and trustworthy and unchanging.  I am grateful to Steve for his fidelity - he is not perfect, but he is a reminder of Christ to me.  He seeks to love me as Christ loves the Church.  I am thankful.

Those of you who know us personally know that we are far from perfect.  We have lots of issues!  But, that's the beauty of it.  Fidelity can be found in our imperfection.  I don't write to brag on us, but to encourage you:   what I thought was impossible isn't. 

Sleep in Peace

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep...  This Wendell Berry poem came to mind. 

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

I am so grateful that the Creator of "the grace of the world" cares for me.  I can cast all of those cares back upon Him and sleep in peace.  

"Cast all your anxieties on him, 
because he cares for you." (1Peter 5:7 ESV)

    In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
(Psalm 4:8 ESV)

As a little girl my father shared a thought with me about waking up in the night.  I have never forgotten it.  When you wake up pray!  It is quiet.  There is probably no one else in your neighborhood praying right now.  It is just you and God.  Pray!!  And sleep will come.  Try it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

White Roses - UPDATED

Original post from OCTOBER 2012:  I love to garden but am by no means an expert.  That would be my Dad.  He can grow anything - he DOES grow anything and everything.  And by grow, I mean it actually comes up and produces.  I grow it and it comes up and disappears.  Ha!  I am working on my skills.

So when I find a fruit or vegetable or flower that is fool proof I have to share it.  I love to grow roses.  I have tried about twenty different varieties over the years.  Some just need to be left for the experts like my Dad.  But last year my Dad gave me a rose for my birthday that I want to share with you.  We ordered a Tineke rose from Edmund's Roses - online at edmundsroses.com.  It has handled the heat and drought of this year beautifully.  But the biggest surprise has been the blooms.  I can't tell you how many vases I have filled with long stem, huge, delicate white roses.  It has been with minimal effort.   (Note: it is a true white - the picture on the left is a little yellow due to the flash.)  Tineke has proven to be very disease resistant, which is a must for any rose variety that I grow.  Look for yourself.  And come spring, buy one for yourself!
And just for your information, I do grow Knockout roses - they are by far the easiest, hardiest, most disease resistant roses ever.  Lots of blooms for little investment.  If you are just starting out, start there!  I recommend the red double blooms for heat - the pink is beautiful, but the actual flowers do fade in the heat.   Haven't tried the yellow varieties. 

UPDATE  SEPTEMBER 2013:  So, if you decide to order this rose (in the Spring!) I have another year's worth of observations.  This rose loves loves loves the heat.  But this year we got a lot of rain.  That seems to be a problem.  The leaves yellowed and fell off early in the summer.  But now, in September, after weeks of super hot temperatures it has returned better than ever!  It is again covered in those perfectly formed double blossoms that I love.  My vases are filled again.  So, when shopping, keep in mind how much rain your region gets.  Just a warning.  Still very much one of my favorites.

A Word to College Students

Came across this video today from Terry Virgo - a pastor from England that God has used to teach me much about prayer and faith.  He discusses the importance of college students being involved in the local church.  Check it out:

Let me know what you think!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Music Recommendations for Sarah

So my friend Sarah has asked for a music recommendation list.  I am so very far from a music critic.  So I need your help.  I will share my favorites but would you consider adding to the list?  Thanks so much!

Here goes:

U2 is always at the top of my list - I am a devoted fan...

Mumford and Sons - newest Babel - highly recommend it!!  I think I may even like it more than their first album, Sigh No More, and that is saying a lot because that is one of my favorite albums of all time.  Genre can't be defined... just as the group likes it. But there are four part harmonies and a banjo...  (just so you know, they are British, so there is language - might not want to listen with the kiddos the first time).

The Avett Brothers - check out their two albums - I and Love and You and Emotionalism (favorite songs:  January Wedding, Murder in the City).  Just released a new album that I haven't listened to yet - the Carpenter.

For straight bluegrass my favorite is The Punch Brothers.  They have a new album called Who's Feeling Young Now?  (For something pretty inventive - bluegrass with a classical twist - check out their first album Punch.  Impressive.)

Gungor, Beautiful Things, is great - and I rarely listen to Christian music.  Oh wait - I do enjoy Andrew Peterson.  Have you heard him?  Start with Dancing in the Minefields (from Counting Stars) and Lay Me Down (from The Far Country).   ***And don't forget Jon Yerby - The Terrors of Law and of God.***

Also for Bluegrass, I have a soft spot for Steve Martin - check out both The Crow and Rare Bird Alert - but you may rather buy those as individual songs - some are only instrumental, others have lyrics.  Listen on iTunes first. (But for basic bluegrass start with Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? for a bluegrass sampler.)

Adelle - Her album 21 is brilliant.  Pop, but worth listening to at least once.  I would check out Youtube for this one.  You will know whether you like it in about two seconds.  Start with Rolling in the Deep and Set Fire to the Rain and go from there!

You can never, ever go wrong with anything by Yo-Yo Ma!

Jakob Dylan (of Wallflowers) has a solo album that you might like - Women and Country.  It is amazing.

One for the kiddos - Beethoven's Wig is a must - but it will change how you hear classical music forever!  My kiddos love it.  We listened to it almost every day on the way to school for a whole year. We still can sing all the songs.

For a little something different:  Elbow - Favorite album  - The Seldom Seen Kid, but I also like their next two. (Check out the songs One Day Like This and The Bones of You.)

Hmmm... I am guessing Steve-O would say Sigur Ross and Victoria would say Regina Spektor and Bon Iver.  Esther would say Matt and Kim or Neon Trees and Paramore.  Altogether we have given you about 75 hours of music listening.  Enjoy, my friend!!

Okay everyone else - let the recommendations begin!

An Old Friend Retires...

So I actually have a few things that I received as wedding presents oh so long ago.  Still have my dishes, but those beautiful Noritake blue swirl glasses didn't survive years of indoor football or Sunday dinners with little kiddos.  We destroyed all those towels and frilly pillows and cake pans and several sets of pots and pans.  (I do have picture frames and other keepsakes in boxes for safe keeping.)

But, believe it or not, I still have and use my old, faithful Osterizer blender!  I did, that is, until a few days ago.  Steve bought me a new Ninja Kitchen System 1200 for my birthday.  I had wanted a food processor and Steve wanted a new blender that could handle ice/smoothies.  Wow - times have changed.  My little 350 horsepower blender got outclassed by a powerhouse of food fun!  So, thanks Ol' Faithful - but hello new toy.  I can't wait to use it.  Happy birthday to me!

And just FYI, I still LOVE LOVE LOVE my old Sunbeam stand mixer.  No thank you to your fancy little Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.  Wonder if this new little toy will send that Sunbeam on its way...

I will let you know what we think.