Urgency

Dear Heavenly Father,
Please let my words be of You. Let the words I share be an accurate reflection of You. My hearts desire is to do Your will. To hear Your voice, and follow the prompting of Your Holy Spirit. In all things that I do, say, and speak I desire to only please You. This is not about me, I do not want this to be about me, I want this to be about You. You are the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning, and the end. Praise You my Father, wonderous is Your love, mighty is Your grace and forgiveness. You are Holy, worthy of all our praises and so much more. I thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. Father I confess my sins before You, I have broken all Your commandments. As You say if I have broken one I have broken them all. No matter how good I try to be I never can be perfect, I am only perfect through Your Son, who has washed away my sins. For You have said “Whoever confesses their sins, You are Faithful and Just to forgive us of our unrighteousness.” I feel so unworthy Lord, thank You for all You have done.
Lord I have felt a quickening in my spirit, that can only be of You. An urgency Lord, and I wish to obey it. I no longer want to be ashamed to boldly speak of what You have done. To not feel like I have to worry about who will over hear my conversations. No matter whom they are with. Father I ask for Your forgiveness, earlier this week I was speaking Your truth to my daughter in the parking lot of the gym and a man was behind me. The entire time all I could think of was “what does he think of me talking to my daughter of these things, does he think I’m a fanatic?” I am sorry Lord, if he doesn’t know you, please use my conversation to speak to him, despite my failings. Help me to be bold for You and Your glory. I know that Your word says that You want none to perish but have everlasting life. Yet You also say that No one can come unto the Father but by me (Jesus). Use me Lord, guide me, show me Your will. I will be one of the ones like in Your word that says “Hear am I Lord, send me!” I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that You must be quickening their spirits as well, I pray that they hear Your voice, and that You give them the strength to follow. You have jobs for all of us, and they aren’t all the same. Please keep Your people from bickering and putting each other down. For those who are criticized for speaking out what they have been told to do by You (and I am one of them) give us the strength to keep going and the grace to forgive our siblings, for they simply do not understand. In fact Lord, forgive me for getting upset with those that have spoken against me, give me Your grace and love, so that I see them as You do and not just the hurt that I have felt. Lord let me be used of You.
Praise You Father! Praise You Jesus, our soon coming King! Let Your praises ring out through out the world! May Your truth be boldly proclaimed! Forever and Ever! Amen!

Warm Mediterranean Rice Salad

I love this salad! It has the brightness of summer, yet the warm-ness of winter. A perfect combination for a springtime meal. Use it as a side or add chicken on top for an entrée. Serves 3-4.

Salad ingredients:
1 2/3 c brown rice *see note
2 c. loosely packed torn spinach
20 cherry tomatoes halved
2 mini seedless cucumbers, thickly sliced and quartered
2 oz of ricotta salta or feta cheese, crumbled
10 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
salad dressing (listed below)

1. Cook the * brown rice according to the package. When most of the water has been absorbed add the spinach and cover. Total cook time should be about 45 minutes, adding the spinach doesn’t change the rice’s cook time.

2. After the rice and spinach have cooked, remove from heat and remove cover. You want to allow the rice to cool a little so that it is warm but not hot. While cooling put the rest of the ingredients (except dressing) into a large bowl.

3. Once rice and spinach have cooled a little, add to the bowl and gently toss.

4. Just before serving lightly drizzle with salad dressing. Depending on the texture of the rice you may not need all the dressing. You will want a light coating, but you do not want the salad to look really wet.

*Note* This is a great way to use up leftover rice. To save time, when you prepare rice for another meal, cook extra and set it aside for this recipe. Then steam the rice and spinach together until spinach is wilted, about 10-15 minutes.

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
~ 1/4 c olive oil
1 garlic clove finely minced
1/4 tsp cracked red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup squeeze in lemon juice. The amount of juice will determine how much olive oil you need. Wisk the lemon juice, while slowly adding olive oil. When it has emulsified you have enough olive oil. My lemon had a lot of juice, so I needed more oil. Whisk in rest of ingredients tasting as needed. *tip go light on salt until after you have added to salad, you can always add more if needed.

This recipe is a part of Nourshing Gourmet Pennywise Platter. For more information please visit:
http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2011/03/pennywise-platter-thursday-310.html#more-3928

Way to Save on Produce

There are farmer’s markets all over the place if you just look. They are fairly easy to find, I can name about 4 around where I live. While these are great resources, unless you go at the end of the day, the savings (if any) are minimal. I would like to introduce the concept of a CSA. There are different kinds of CSA’s. My friend belongs to one where she pays a fee to be in it, and then depending on what is in season (and the amount of produce) she receives a portion of what is being harvested. One of the local farms that I go to has CSA, where you pay a fee, but then also must put in so many volunteer hours per season. They have a pickup every week where you come get your share of veggies. This CSA fills up quickly as it is a great way to get veggies for a low price (and they are organic)! In fact when I enquired they told me they have about a 2 year waiting list. Thankfully they offer another alternative that you can do volunteer hours during the week(ends) and in exchange receive produce as well. I would love to share their information with you, however it seems their website is currently down. If you would like more information let me know and I’ll be happy to share. If you aren’t in the Ohio area, stop by my links to check out Local Harvest, they are a great resource to help you find CSA’s where you live. Hope you find this helpful!

Well Stocked Pantry

A well stocked pantry is something that has been on my heart and mind lately. I tried doing my grocery challenge yet I found that I was ill prepared in way of veggies. I had plenty of food to eat, but I can’t do with out my veggies, most of them ended up going to my son for baby food. Then I would need to make another trip to the store. I didn’t need to buy anything else for about 2 weeks, as my pantry was pretty well stocked. There are 5 reasons for a well stocked pantry:

1. You have unexpected guests stop by around a meal time. Sometimes friends or family stop by when you are getting ready to make a meal. If you have a well stocked pantry it is easy to whip up something to include these unexpected guests. Things like rice, beans, canned/frozen veggies, can help stretch what you already had in mind to prepare.

2. A family in need. In my church it is normal to help of a family in need. Whether it is a new birth, a death in the family, or an illness. We hear the need and set up volunteers to make food for the family, anything to make the time easier on them. In any of those cases it is a relief to the family not needing to worry about cooking. Sometimes these things can come up unexpectedly and having a well stocked pantry can allow you to pitch in without having to make a quick trip to the store.

3. There is an emergency or crisis in your family. Right after Christmas my husband and I became very ill, and my father came from out-of-town to watch the kids. My pantry was well stocked and he was able to feed the kids without needing to go to the store or a restaurant. Another crisis none of us like to think of is what if your spouse gets laid off from work? If you have a pantry that is well stocked you can stretch your groceries for months, to help you get over that rough spot.

4. Sudden rise in food prices or utilities. There are several factors that go into considering the cost of food and preparing it. Supply and demand, cost of oil, etc. Now I know you are probably saying cost of oil? Not cooking oil, crude oil. We as a society have moved away from an agrarian culture. We eat food in mass, yet we don’t produce it in mass, and fewer still grow /raise their own food. Most of us buy our food in a grocery store. Ever think of where your food comes from? That juicy red tomato that is in your store in the dead of winter is not local (obviously). It had to be flown/ trucked in to your store, which is factored into the price you pay. So say there is unrest in the middle east….and they control the oil…..and a lot of the countries are blaming the United States for the unrest….so they raise the price of oil…..scratch that it would never happen 🙂 Oh wait….it is happening! We the consumers will then get passed along the cost of the price of oil in our gas, food and countless other things.

5. Natural / economic disaster- Natural disasters can’t always be predicted. In fact our government urges us to have enough food and water on hand for at least 3 days for everyone in your house. Now I say that you need at least 2-3 weeks. When hurricane Katrina hit, we in the midwest got slapped by the tail winds, and some communities around here were without power for a week! So not only do you need food and water for yourself, but you will undoubtedly have friends and family that were not prepared that you will want to help. In addition to the food, you will need a way to prepare it. A charcoal grill, and of course the charcoal is a great way to cook your food. Can openers are helpful, and if you are like me a hand-operated grain mill. I mill all my own flour with an electric mill, so if the power goes out for an extended period of time I am up a creek without a paddle!

So how do you know what to stock? Make a list of frequently used ingredients. There are plenty of companies that sell emergency kits out there, but if you wouldn’t eat it, then it’s a waste of money. The church of the Later Day Saints have an excellent tool to help you figure out what you may need to feed your family for a year according to the size of your family and the ages of the members. Now I am not promoting their beliefs or saying that I agree with their doctrine. All I am saying is they have a free tool that is beneficial if you want an idea of how much to stock. If you don’t want to stock for a whole year then do elementary math to figure out how much you need based on how long you want to sustain. I will post in my links how to get to the calculator if you are interested.

Some of the things that I am going to stock up on:
Charcoal, candles, water, baking soda, borax, super washing soda, castille soap, distilled white vinegar, toilet paper, toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, and dish soap. With all these things I can take care of cleaning and personal hygiene.

Wheat berries, Spelt berries, Oat groats, corn, beans, lentils, split peas, oil, spices, dried fruit, canned veggies, nut butters, honey, rapidura sugar, molasses, baking powder, and yeast.
I am not doing pasta as I can make that from scratch. No jams for me as I will use Sally Fallons method of making fruit spreads from dried fruit. No rice either, white rice stores longer than brown rice, yet has less nutritional value than brown. I am able to make many dishes that call for rice by substituting whole wheat or spelt instead. Another tip is that you can sprout wheat, spelt, lentils, and beans. Doing so unlocks all sorts of nutrients, makes the food easier to digest, and prevents scurvy.

Other items to consider investing in: hand grain mill ( if you want to make your own flour), cast iron cookware (can be used on an open flame), and a food mill (you won’t be using a food processor or an immersion blender if there is no electric).
In addition to stocking your pantry also consider a garden if you have the space, the fruits and veggies will taste better, plus help your wallet. If you don’t have much space, many veggies can be grown in containers: tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc. Does your family have a well stocked pantry? How long could you live off of it? What is in your pantry? Do you have an alternative means to cook if you lost power? I am interested in hearing people’s thoughts and their experiences. Thanks!