Friday, November 1, 2013

Who is enough?

I was greeting trick or treaters last night and Glee came on.  It was the Cory Montieth farewell and I Facebooked about it.  A friend of mine from my hometown commented that he couldn't watch it.  He is feeling too raw right now.  You see a friend of his who we went to school with took his own life last week and my friend has been asked to Officiate the Memorial service.  And then my daughter comes down from doing homework to hand out some candy because she'd had a hard day at high school.  You see she was as school yesterday and at lunch while sitting down in the communal area where the sophomores hang one of the boys from her little band of brothers went around to each small grouping of people to see if they wanted to play cards.  He was talking very quietly so she couldn't hear what he was saying.  As he works his way around, he passes by her without inviting her to play.  She asks him what he'd been saying and he point blank says.  "Oh, nothing to you!  I was asking them if they wanted to play cards, but you aren't invited!". 

As she is relating this story to me, she starts crying because even she knows, it's not about the card game.  It's about the rejection.  "Why!" she says.  "Why does this keep happening to me? What's wrong with me that no one seems to want to really be my friend?!" she says.  So there I am, the mother of this beautiful, smart, warm, funny sensitive soul who is crying out! Her soul is crying out wondering "why am I not enough?" And I wonder again what crusty soul disease are we spreading where people walking around in this life feel no remorse for so simply and easily hurting someone else?  Are we so closed off to the human experience of others that we don't have the ability to empathize anymore? 

I think to the man who in his forties suffered so that he felt no possible way to go another day.  What a tragic, senseless loss.  Those whom he left behind are thinking how they'll miss him and what he meant to them. And I think, what made him feel like he wasn't enough?  He, himself, isn't enough to the people he loves. 

Recently a friend of my family passed away due to cancer.  He left a wife, and 6 children from their combined families.  He was much loved and will be greatly missed.  As I spent time at the hospital his wife was encouraged by our clergy to have a "talk" with her husband.  What kind of talk she wondered.  I, being somewhat fresh from my having lost my father in 2012, told her to have the following talk with her husband.  Tell him, how you feel about him.  Tell him what he means to you.  Tell him every contribution he has made to your happiness and your personal emotional and spiritual journey.  Tell him, how you see the best of him in his children.  Tell him, all they ways God has used him throughout his life.  Relive, the funny, silly, sometimes rocky memories and laugh and smile and reassure him that his life has meant the world to you.  Tell him you love him and that no matter what mistakes he's made, that he has been and is Enough.  That with all his flaws, and baggage and scars and faults, that he is enough.  That his life and his abilities have changed the life and destiny of people he may never know due to those he has known.  That he is loved!  That he is enough to you and to God!  That he is enough to his children and his siblings!  That no matter what, He Is Enough! 

Then I thought to myself, "why?!" Why do we wait until someone's time on this earth is complete do we tell them, or tell the church full of mourners that this person was enough. I think to myself, that if we were actually telling one another everyday, in big ways and in small that they are more than enough, that they might not feel the need to hurt themselves.  That they might be better equipped to experience rejection without feeling unworthy of love and friendship.  That maybe is this boy as school had really felt like he was loved, nurtured, treasured enough that he wouldn't feel the need to make others feel less so he could feel more. 

So today, as you navigate this journey that your soul is taking on this earth.  Remember that you are Enough!  And that those in your life, whom you love are enough.  And let us help one another to really understand the depth to which we are loved and love each other.  So when you go, to work, home, church, the shops, anywhere Love the people God has put in your path.  Look them in the eye, in the soul and tell them they are enough.  Tell them what they mean to you.  Tell them how their very existence on this earth has enriched your life.  How your life would never be the same without them.  Tell them you love them, then do the big and small things to show them. 

Be Good to one another! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Summer

I spent quite a bit of time this summer helping my mother settle into her new digs.  My Father passed away February 2012 and my mother sold the old home place in May 2013.  She waited a year, so that she didn't make any decisions based on grief or emotion.  She couldn't move in for 6 weeks so she stayed with my brother and his family.  We moved her into her house in town and then my girls and I spent weeks there over the summer helping her paint, arrange furniture and hang pictures.

We spent a lot of time reading, and hanging out.  There was church camp and time with friends.  We also discovered Dr. Who last spring but didn't have time to catch up.  So... Yea we became rabid Dr. Who fans.  Thank you Netflix!  The general consensus is that the 10th Doctor is our favorite.  11 is ok, but 10 is the ONE!  Rose Tyler is the Stuff, but Donna Noble's end story had me lying in a puddle on the floor.  Why?!  WHYYY?!  We also had our summer Harry Potter Marathon, because that never gets old! 

We started meditating.  In preparation for the school year and all the stress that comes with it.  We've started reading about reiki and the God Power.  Very interesting stuff. We do find the meditation to be very helpful in our connection with God. 

I am still out of work, and looking.  I was really hoping to avoid retail so I could find something that could be a career and not just a job.  It's been a long hard road, but I still feel faithful that God will provide!  It might be retail or any old thing, but that's going to be ok.  I don't have any problems working retail, it's an honorable profession but I want something more! 

Ugh! My weight.  Not only have I not lost weight, but I think I have gained weight.  Gah!  I have got to get it together!  So truth be told I have about 150 lbs to lose.  Pretty embarrassing.  I can write that here because no one really reads this blog much anyway.  Maybe I should use this to log my nutrition etc. 


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Last Day of School

Today is my youngest's last day of 6th grade.  She has had some struggles this year.  Learning to get herself organized and keep track of her homework.  Remembering to turn in her assignments on time.  Organization has never been her strongest trait.  She had some low grades in the first couple of grading periods due to this.  However, she has really progressed a lot this semester. 

This is her first year to have "Exams" and we hope she knocks it out of the park.  Not so her grades are high but so she can finish STRONG!  I firmly believe in making sure she has a victory.  It's not how the first inning goes, but how the game ends.

I'm really not a Grades Nazi, but I know that kids really pay attention to that in each other. Also, it can be an indicator of a problem or Progress.  I want my kids to do their very best and nurture their full potential.  If their very best effort earns them a 75, then we acknowledge that victory.  If their grade is a 90 and they gave a half hearted effort, we don't celebrate that.  We wonder how good their grade could have been had they done their best work. 

I'm really proud of her growth this year.  Her journey.  It was a really difficult school year last year, and this was her first year in Junior High. She has grown in her responsibility around the house too.  Helping with dishes without complaining.  Straightening up without whining.  She does more than her share and doesn't hold a grudge.  I'm really proud of her and the many ways she has proven herself as a responsible young woman. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adventures in TaG-land

It has been a whirlwind of a year.  My daughter has worked so hard and today is her last day for the year.  Her last two finals are today and we are planning to splurge and have a lunch date.  She deserves it.  I didn't have the kind of work load she has had until I was in college.

  Amazing what our kids can do when they are motivated and supported.  They have risen to the expectations set for them and the staff at TaG expect a lot.  They strive for excellence and fully expect the student body to be excellent.  Even when a kid has a weakness in a certain subject area, we as parents and teachers fully believe that the student will master it.  Oh, you need a little extra help?  No Biggie!  We'll help you because we know you have it in you.  Unfortunately for us, our beloved Principal is retiring this year.  We will miss him greatly, but hope he thoroughly enjoys his retirement.  He deserves it.

Because of this TaG was deemed the #1 Best Public High School in the Nation. 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Bountiful Baskets

I have been on a journey to eating healthier and find that foods that are really good for you can be very expensive.  So, my new niece (married my nephew) told me about a coop she participates with. It's called Bountiful Baskets.   So, on Mondays I sign up and on Saturday I pick up a couple of small laundry baskets full of fruits and vegetables.  I added on a small extra veggie pack that included a large handful of fresh herbs.  Below is the haul I brought in this week. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcake

I've had some successful cupcakes lately and a friend asked if I'd come and teach a baking lesson to her 3 girls.  They are also gluten free and homeschool, so I thought, "How Fun!"  Turns out her middle daughter is the one who is into baking and she favors anything chocolate.  (Girl after my own heart!)  I hadn't attempted chocolate cupcakes yet, so had to test a recipe.  I went to a general recipe website and found one that looked fairly simple and easy to adjust.  Since my "students" range in age from 6-12, I wanted simple so they could do this on their own later.

So I started with my favorite GF flour mix. 
1 heaping tsp xantham gum
6 tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs (room temp)
1 cup-ish milk (room temp)

Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins

sift together all the dry ingredients (except sugar) and stir to make sure fully incorporated.
mix butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
Add vanilla ext, and eggs one at a time mixing well in between
Add the flour mix and the milk alternating, starting with flour ending with milk. 

Put about 1/3 cup into each cupcake liner.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until done. When toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Once cooled, Frost with your favorite icing and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes.....

I was totally jonesing for a really good cupcake!  I saw a picture online of a red velvet cake and thought!  " I must do this!"  So I searched online for good recipes.  I didn't limit myself to Gluten Free recipes, but found this one that I had to modify. 

I found the original Gluten-full recipe on Simply Scratch.  It's a blog I found last night and the recipe worked so well and her photos are so pretty!  Click Here for the link to her recipe.

So, I made them today, and Mmmm!  You should totally try these!  My pictures aren't anywhere near the quality of others, but here they are

I first sifted the flour, sugar, xantham gum, baking soda, salt and coco powder into the bowl of my stand mixer.  (btw my kitchenaid mixer is from the Lord! It is such a beautiful thing! ) 

Then I added the coco powder.  ( Look Ma, left handed!)


Mixed all the dry ingredients with a fork and set it in the mixer with the whisk attachment.
Crack 2 eggs in a large measuring cup with a pour spout.   

 Give them a light whisk!

Add in the buttermilk and vinegar

Then add the vanilla extract and the food color.  I used 1-1oz bottle of red. 

I then pour all the wet ingredients into the mixer bowl with all the dry and mix well.

I put the batter into the cupcake tin, lined with the snazzy black and white cups (that were on sale for $.99!) 

 While they were baking the frosting debate began.  Cream Cheese or Buttercream?  Buttercream always wins out, because I don't particularly care for cream cheese icing.

So the finished product turned out really great!

 Then this!

Let the Nomming begin!
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix
1 tsp xantham gum
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs (room temp)
1 tbl vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil (original recipe called for 1 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, but I didn't have that and I just couldn't get myself to put that last 1/2 cup oil in)
1 cup butter milk (room temp)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla ext.
1 oz red food color (original recipe called for 2 oz but I only had 1)
Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.  
In mixer bowl combine all dry ingredients sifting well and stirring to evenly distribute all the cocoa powder and xantham gum.
In another bowl or large glass measuring cup, combine wet ingredients mixing well.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well on medium speed. 
distribute to cupcake papers, and shake and shimmy to pan to release any bubbles in the batter.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
Let cool completely then top with your favorite frosting. 
and last but not least, Enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A few things I am obsessed with...

I don't have all that many obsessions and one of them will be pretty obvious.  But here are some of the things, I find myself addicted to just now.  It will change periodically as obsessions do. 

1.  Solitaire
I play it on my kindle and now have my daughter addicted.  I'll expect to play a couple of hands then find I've stayed up way too late. 

2.  Call the Midwife on PBS. I did some doula training and really support midwifery.  This series isn't about preaching midwifery vs. hospital birth.  It is really about a blue collar area of London and the relationships and families formed there.  Love!!

 3. Most obviously to all my readers...Gluten Free Baking.  (Especially cupcakes)  I have been having some victories and a lot of failures trying to find the best GF cupcakes.  I found a recipe or two that work ok for a basic vanilla and now want to start "tweaking" that to make some more flavorful cupcakes.  My next mission is a chocolate!  Mmm!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday catch up and weigh in.

Last weekend, my youngest carpool princess had her school play.  Her first play and it was a take on General Hospital.  Fun and fast.  The entire play lasted about 30 minutes.  We had the early show (6:00) and a later show (7:15).  Daddy and big sister (who was in plays at the same school last year) missed the first showing due to obscene traffic. 

It is a family tradition started by my folks, that after plays, concerts, etc we go to get ice cream after.  So Friday night after a weigh in, I had ice cream.  Yea...but so good. 

Then that night, she and I take a 2 hour drive to go to my mom's house.  She's been a widow for just over a year, and had put the childhood home on the market.  At the beginning of April, she got an offer, and they closed this week.  So we went out there to help her pack,  As it turns out, packing and loading boxes into storage rooms and eating "on the go" do NOT lead to eating healthy.  I gained about 4 pounds over the 2-3 days we were doing all that.  Then I came home and ended up with a mild tummy flu-thing.  So it all worked out to get me back to right where I was last Friday.

This weeks weigh in results are 0.  No loss/no gain. 

But this is a new week, and I intend to make a dent in this weight. 

I keep telling myself that I am strong, and healthy and capable!  I am able able to do this.  I try to come back to the scripture.  "I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength."


Cakes for Hubby's work

My hubby's workplace had a potluck for all the April birthdays.  It's the south, we must "potluck".  He came home and asked me to make a cake or two for the potluck.  Wait?  I baked them, and delivered them, and he didn't have to do any work for His potluck.  Ah!  Ok, I see how it is. 

Anyway, I didn't have to bake Gluten Free so it was really easy.  Then I decided to try the rose technique on the purple cake. 

Turned out pretty good.

I then made the chocolate basket weave (which is one of my favorites). 

They loved them and they tasted good. 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Weigh In

Happy Friday! Weather here is a brisk 50 degrees this morning, the sun is shining after a rainy couple of days.   My yard is happy but my dogs are not. They don't like it when the sky leaks! 
So, I weighed in this morning and....Who Hoo Victory!  I lost 2 pounds! I was trying to take the supplements but just couldn't get them down.  So that means this weight loss is just me. I am pretty proud, but realize I have a ways to go.

Also had to make 2 cakes for hubby's work. Will have pictures to follow.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weight Loss Update!

I've decided to weigh in on Fridays.  I started my original or starting place weigh in Monday.  Not going to give you the actual starting number because well, that would be just too embarrassing. 

I was supposed to take the supplement but couldn't get it down Wednesday or Thursday.  So, I basically took it for 2 days.  I have a hard time swallowing pills anyway. Couldn't even take an aspirin until I was 26.  I find supplements difficult, because they float.  Weird, I know! 

So, with a sick little carpoolprincess home all week, and cupcake drama, I did actually lose 1/2 a pound.  That may be pathetic to you, but it's progress to me. 

Have a Great one!

Gluten Free Cupcakes: The Saga Continues

As you may have read in a previous post, I've been having problems with making a decent gluten free cupcake. So, I bought some new ingredients and tried a recipe that was handed down from my Great Grandmother.  Her recipe was gluten-full and butter full and kind of dense on it's own. 

So, I tried a premade flour mix.  The last one I tried was kinda, well, gross!  So, I got a new one and it had no chickpea flour in it.  Now don't get me wrong, I love chickpea flour (besan flour) for savory but not for baking.  This new flour, is rice flour and starches and worked really well.  The recipe didn't make alot. 

The texture of the batter was less like taffy, or bread dough and more like very thick batter.  And don't judge my ancient semi-rusty tins, they can't help it. 

So, Hey!  They cooked pretty and rose so nicely!  That is already a big victory considering the horible sunken gooey messes I made before.  Look!  Aren't they cute?! 

Then I played with the camera a bit. Brought out the milk glass fruit bowl and Grandma's china! 

Oh, Black and White!  Maybe the Cleavers or Ricardos are coming for tea! 

They were a great texture, but slightly dry.  So I will be trying again to moisten the final product without going all the way to gummy!

when I get it perfect, I'll post the recipe for you all.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wedding cake

Oh yea! I forgot to post the wedding cake and groom's cake pictures. My nephew got married in March and Auntie Beth did their cakes. Here are a couple of pictures.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gluten Free Lemon Cupcakes.

So, lately I have had a hard time with a tried and true basic Gluten Free cupcake recipe. I made some for the carpool princess' baptism in early March and they were soo dense and just unedible. Ick! They made great paperweights.  So I had to try them again. They were soo gooey. Kinda like the toy slime stuff from back in the 80's. (not that I remember the 80's mind you) So, I tried them again and adjusted the temp of the oven and the liquid content.  Yea, that didn't work either.  They rose nicely then fell hard like a drunk coed after last call. ( that's called imagery and my high school creative writing teacher would give me detention if she could for using that example)
On attempt number 4, I finally got a super dense but "non collapsed" cupcake. They tasted ok, but the texture just wasn't right. I'd changed the oven temp again, and cooled them more slowly, and changed the liquid and eggs and said a prayer and knocked on wood.... Still the cupcakes were meh. (yes, meh is an official culinary term)
So after much more research and a little private investigating I think I figured out me problem. Everyone who knows me knows I like a great deal. GF flour is expensive and I found some great GF flour at my IndoPak market. Well a few weeks ago I tried a larger asian market. Korean I think and got some rice flour there. The Korean market did not translate into english all the items I was looking for. Hmm. Not very helpful for this linguistically challenged person if you ask me. So I think I bought sweet rice flour instead of regular rice flour and according to my expert sleuthing sweer rice flour is gummy when used in baking.
So there you have it. Therfore I had to try my cupcakes again with sorghum flour instead. The color was slightly darker than with fine rice flour but they taste good.
GF Lemon cupcake
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp xantham gum
1tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon pie filling (gf)
2tsp vanilla ext
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Learned to aerate the flour and starch before measuring and sifting together. Then wisk together well.
I baked them in a 350 degree oven for almost 30 minutes.
I then made a lemon "Buttercream". I didn't use butter though because I was in a hurry and the butter was too cold.
1 cup butter (butter flavor crisco)
4 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup (about) lemon pie filling
1/4 cup milk (ish)
1tsp vanilla ext.
They were really good. If I do say so myself.
Bon Apetit!

This is No April Fools Post!

Ok, I may share thoughts and recipes and reading lists, but I seldom actually share personal information.  Kinda think it's safer that way.  However, since I don't really think anyone is reading this but me, I'm making an exception. 

I am what doctors would call morbidly obese.  I need to lose about 150 lbs to be at fighting weight.  That is so difficult for me to admit verbally even though anyone looking at me could guess.  So, I have decided to track my journey to a healthier me. 

I know that the number on the scale does not define me, and does not equal my worth.  However, it's the way I am treated by others.  Most salespeople won't look me in the eye.  It's like, I'm somehow less than a human.  I also have decided too that this is the time because I'm finding it difficult to do some very simple basic things.  I'm too large for lawn chairs and ended up missing my nephews first baseball game because there were no bleachers.  Ok, so April is the month! 

I know this journey will be difficult and more than likely lengthy.  I have not only body image issues to deal with, but exercise insecurities.  I need to work on food, obviously, but more so than that I need to work on my mind and heart. 

I am starting today a supplement advertised on Dr. Oz called Garcinia Cambogia.  It is supposed to help with appetite, and fat burning and energy without the crazy buzz.  So this morning I weighed in and took my first dose.

My ultimate weight loss goal is 100 lbs, but my more immediate goal is 10lbs. 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Zuchini lasagne

I saw a pinterest post for this so I had to try it. We can't have the regular lasagne since the pasta has wheat so this looks like the ticket. Not only does this give my gluten free one her italian fix but it sneaks vegetables to my youngest. Bwa ha ha!  Love it.
So I grilled the sliced zuchini (thank you God for my mandolin- watch the fingers) and made a meaty sauce. It took one whole zuchini per layer and I used a small dish (8x8).  So anyway.  I also didn't have mozzarella. I substituted colby cuz that's what I had.
Let the record show that I think I have an illness or syndrome.  I can never NEVER follow a recipe exactly as written. What is wrong with me?
My family loved it.  I would post a picture of the finished project but the family dug in so fast, I couldn't. 
Try a new recipe this week. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tropical cupcakes

I was given the priviledge of making a cake and cupcakes for my niece-to-be's Bridal Shower.  We love her dearly and I was so jazzed about doing it.  So, my soon-to-be niece also happens to be Lactose Intolerant.  So, I put on my Baker's hat and wanted to make a really tasty and really unexpected.  So after scouring recipes, and websites and doing some research on Lactose free substitutions, I went to bed.  I had a very interesting dream that night about making cupcakes and the next day, I made the cupcakes!  They were really good so I decided to make them again for every-woman friendly.  I tend to bake from scratch, but not everyone does so simple and cheap is what I'm going for. 

First I started with a very simple cheap white cake mix from my local discount superstore! Then I got a can of pineapple, some vanilla extract, coconut and my splurge fancy brand eggs.  That's all I used in the making of these cupcakes. 

So, instead of 4 egg whites per the box instructions, I used 2 whole eggs.  I added the can of pineapple with juice, and about 1/2 -2/3 cup coconut.  I added 1 tsp of vanilla extract and mixed well, scraping once with a rubber spatula since the coconut and pineapple like to stick to the paddle on the mixer.  I did not have to add water or oil or any of the other stuff that you usually add to cake mix.

It made about 20 cupcakes. 

So, I baked them for about 30 minutes at 350.  I made a simple buttercream without butter...

They were so good!  I took a batch to Bible Study and everyone raved.  (If I do say so myself!)
So moist, and yummy and low in fat (except the frosting, because why make low fat frosting!)
I am going to try them again without the egg to see if I can make them totally vegan!  Then will try them again without gluten.  I used almond milk in the frosting and it was good and creamy and was still nice and white for when you need "White" frosting.  If you try these, then let me know what you do differently and how you liked it.  I'd love to hear back from you.