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Friday, June 5, 2020

A Time to Pause



As we near the end of another week filled with pain in our world, our country, our cities, may we find some moments to pause our racing hearts and thoughts, to bring our grief to our faithful, loving God, who cares and knows us better than we even know ourselves...⠀


To be still is to receive.⠀
To faithfully pause,  
to soak up His Love and His Grace.⠀
The soaking up, the receiving,
is what brings growth.⠀
To still our souls is 
to open the door to receive.⠀
To be what He created us to be.⠀
To grow into something beautiful.⠀
By His power alone.⠀
Becoming beautiful and fruitful.
For Him.

Praying for comfort, for the things that only He can do in my heart, in your heart, in every heart.⠀
And can you even grasp the beauty of these fuchsia flowers?! Some new flower buds opened up this week, and I can hardly even contain the beauty. May we be in awe of the things that only God can do - even in me, and also in you.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

After Ten Weeks of "Coronavirus Stay-at-Home"



Even during these ten weeks of coronavirus and of "staying-at-home" ...

Life continues on as always,
one moment at a time. For our days, our weeks, our months, are still made up of moments. The daily, and the present. We've viewed life through fresh eyes maybe more than ever before. And I hope we have been learning, and are continuing to embrace that life is really about the simple and the quiet, about the basic things - of faithfulness, of love, of paying attention, moment-by-moment - in the present. For this is where God is, where we can hear His still, small voice. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:23) And even though we may miss the going, and the doing ... just maybe He is transforming us for the better.

How are you doing these days?
May you be filled with His love,
His grace, His mercy. Each day.
Each moment.

And isn't it a blessing that
we've been able to welcome
the beautiful season of spring
during these ten weeks?
New life and beauty in our yard
has brought us so much joy.
The blossoms on our crab apple tree
(photo above) were so beautiful,
and now we've finished planting
our veggie garden and our herb garden.
So much beauty everywhere ...

Thursday, April 30, 2020

In the Kitchen: During These "Stay-at-Home" Weeks

Sharing some fun things happening in my kitchen in recent days/weeks when there has been a lot more time for cooking!



I love that food is both delicious, and also so beautiful! This is a recipe that I made for the first time recently ... Spinach and Bacon Quiche. You can find this recipe at Tastes Better from Scratch, a website where I often go to find tasty recipes.

A few little notes: I used a homemade pie crust that I had in the freezer (already rolled out in the pie pan), and also added an extra egg or two along with a little extra evaporated milk (which I used instead of the half and half that the recipe calls for). It turned out so delicious - love this recipe!


This is one of our favorite breakfast dishes, and usually gets made at least once a month here. And it's a treat for me that it's my dear hubby who makes this, as well as some other breakfast recipes! He likes to make a big pot of this (photo above) which lasts for multiple breakfasts for the two of us.

I've posted this before, but will include the recipe again here ...


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Cinnamon Date Oatmeal



Source: Family Favorites
Course: Breakfast
Main Ingredient: Rice & Grains
Serves: 2 or more
Ingredients
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 14 cup fructose
  • 13 cup nuts chopped
  • 1 cup dates chopped
  • 34 teaspoon salt
  • 38 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 12 cups water
Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients.
  2. (Can add extra dates and/or other fruit, such as frozen sliced peaches.)
  3. Boil in saucepan, stirring constantly, until thickened.
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We often prepare it with extra dates, and also some frozen sliced peaches, or other fruit. Or, it's great with the ingredients as listed. A nutritious, satisfying, and very yummy breakfast all the year through! (You can find my original post for this recipe by clicking here.)



I've also been baking a constant supply of bread here during these weeks ... enough for the two of us to always have bread on hand each day, with extra in the freezer, and also extra loaves to bless others with. I use my brand new Bosch machine (Christmas gift!), which mixes and kneads six loaves at a time. A topic for another post in the future! We love this bread!




These stay-at-home days have also prompted me to try making a few basic ingredients at home, such as this Cream of Chicken Soup. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

This can be made in bulk and frozen. It has even made a quick lunch for us a few times. Just add about 1 1/2 cups of extra milk to a single recipe, along with some extra shredded chicken.
__________


I have really been loving extra time in the kitchen these past weeks! And haven't even missed eating out for seven weeks in a row!

What have you been cooking up in your kitchen during these "stay-at-home" days/weeks?

Monday, April 27, 2020

Give Thanks in All Circumstances



Does anyone else
need to be reminded as I do?

If often takes me awhile to give in,
to give thanks in a difficult situation.
In hindsight, I can readily see
that God was at work, and I can
offer genuine thanks from my heart.

But in the midst of a hard time,
a challenge? A roadblock?
Well, I need His mercy and grace
to lift my eyes from circumstances
that may be confusing; lift my eyes up 
to our loving Father who is in control.

"For believers aiming to be set apart
and made more like Christ,
every circumstance becomes an
opportunity to rejoice and give thanks,
having access to the Father through
prayer while waiting to understand
their circumstances."
(Beholding and Becoming,
Ruth Chou Simons)


Thank You, Lord, for Your patient
love and grace, enabling us to see
You at work today, giving us joy
in the process, in the present -
all for Your Glory, and our good.

The Lord says,
I will guide you along
the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you
and watch over you.
(Psalm 32:8)



Saturday, April 18, 2020

A Collection: Springtime, Re-learning Embroidery, and at the Sewing Machine


Sharing a few fun things happening here, in the midst of "stay-at-home" coronavirus days!



First of all, we're starting to dream of planting our veggie, herb, and flower gardens! It looks like this coming week will bring warmer, beautiful spring weather! In the meantime, we're making plans and getting new ideas for a new season of outdoor fun.

Another fun thing has been to start up a new hobby, perfect for these weeks of "stay-at-home" ... embroidery! I had done some cross-stitch embroidery many years ago, but this type of embroidery is a new venture for me ...




This blog post (click here) by author/blogger Jessica Turner was the inspiration for me to get started! I purchased the "Isolate & Stitch" pattern (pictured above) from a great Etsy shop (click here). It focuses on stitching 15 different flowers to learn a variety of the embroidery stitches. The tutorials were initially on Instagram, but are also available on YouTube (click here). 



I've completed the first row, and also am in process of organizing the embroidery threads that I had from the past, as well as those I purchased from Amazon recently. 



I also came across a YouTube tutorial for making masks ... click here




Using up fabric that I already had on hand, I sewed up some for the two of us, and also made some to mail off to a brother of mine in Portland, who lives alone and had requested some. This was a good reason to get out my sewing machine again!




Though we have given up a lot, and miss being with our family and friends, these little joys are a gift! I'm thankful.

Have you picked up some new hobbies during these past weeks of staying at home?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

What is My Default?



This is the key;
though it isn't always
our default in times of
concern and when facing
the unknown.

It's easy to find ourselves
filled with anxious thoughts
as we hear the news, as we
are suddenly in situations
where we have never been.

But when we become immersed
in turmoil and unrest, and
can't seem to calm our
restless hearts, there is
a steady light for us.

During these COVID-19 days
and now into Week 5 of 
staying-at-home ...

Let's keep our eyes and our
hearts focused on Him ...
more time at home equals
more time for extended devo
times in His Word.

Picking up His Words to read
throughout the day, turning
our worries into prayers.

Thinking on the good and the
lovely, picking up a new
creative hobby to learn, 
focusing on serving others. 

And we'll soon find ourselves
experiencing perfect peace.

"You will keep in perfect peace,
all who trust in You, all whose
thoughts are fixed on You."
(Isaiah 26:3) 




Saturday, April 11, 2020

Happy Easter!



These "stay at home" 
coronavirus days/weeks
have slowed us down.

Have pulled our hearts
back to the basics, the
essentials, and the most
important of all.

Have caused us to be still,
and to look more intently
at what matters the most.

It has done this for me;
has this been true for you?

I'm re-learning in deeper
ways than ever before ...
of what my heart longs for,
what I am made for.

For I am made for eternity.
Life is not about us, what
we accomplish, what we do.

Why do we hurry about?
When we can rest, trust,
and enjoy His presence, 
His daily gifts of grace.

Aligning our hearts to His,
reading His Words, turning
our thoughts to Him each day,
all through the day, today.

Reflecting His love, and 
creativity in all I do ...
loving our family, our friends,
writing, cooking, capturing
memories in photos, encouraging
others, creating a warm home.

Each of us in our unique ways,
resting, living, breathing,
creating, soaking up His words
and His love, serving others.

And watching Him at work;
for He is God. And we are not.
And He will be exalted. And He
is exalted even in a pandemic.


"Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
(Psalm 46:10)



May you overflow with joy
this Easter 2020!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Chicken Katsudon (Memories from Japan)



Chicken Katsudon is one of my favorite Japanese dishes. I spent most of my childhood in Japan as an MK (missionary's kid), and sometimes still crave some of the Japanese dishes from my past. Katsudon is a dish probably made with pork most often, but I just love it prepared with chicken, too.


It had been so long since I had made this recipe. In my search online for Chicken Katsudon, I came across the most amazing blog where I found the recipe that I wanted to try! Click here to find the original version of this recipe, at justonecookbook.com. I am looking forward to trying more of her authentic Japanese recipes in the future!

COVID-19 has us all at home more, and in the kitchen more. This delicious recipe was on my menu during the first week of staying home.

Below is my slightly edited version of the original, adapted to use ingredients that I have on hand.  



Chicken Katsudon



Course: Main - Special/Holiday
Serves:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast or chicken tenders
  • salt & pepper
  • 12 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs divided
  • 1-2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • canola oil
  • 1 onion medium
  • 4 servings of rice cooked
  • parsley
  • SEASONING SAUCE:
  • 1 12 cups chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp mirin
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
Directions

PREPARE THE INGREDIENTS:
  1. If using chicken breast, cut into about 1 inch slices, pounding to even thickness first if needed.
  2. Beat two eggs in one small bowl, and four eggs in another small bowl.
  3. Prepare three bowls for dipping the chicken ... (1) flour (2) two beaten eggs (3) and the panko bread crumbs.
  4. Slice the onions.
  5. Mix together the ingredients for the SEASONING SAUCE: chicken broth, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar.
COOKING STEPS:
  1. Sprinkle the chicken slices with salt and pepper, then coat with flour, then beaten egg, then with the panko.
  2. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan (I used my 10-inch cast-iron skillet) and deep fry until golden brown, turning until evenly browned. Take out the chicken and set on plate lined with paper towels. Drain oil, leaving enough for frying the onion next.
  3. In the frying pan, bring the Seasoning Sauce and the onion to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and cook onion until wilted.
  5. Add the cooked chicken to the frying pan and turn the heat to medium high.
  6. Pour the four beaten eggs evenly over the cooked chicken.
  7. When the eggs are half cooked, add the parsley and turn off the heat.
  8. Serve the rice into the donburi bowls, and carefully dish a portion of the chicken and egg mixture on top of the rice.
  9. NOTE: Best served with authentic Japanese rice (Nishiki medium grain rice is what I use), and best with chopsticks!
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The photo grid below shows the various steps of preparation, beginning clockwise with the top right photo. 



And sharing a few more photos showing the authentic donburi bowls that I used to serve this dish.





Here's my collection of special donburi bowls from Japan ... some purchased for myself, and some were inherited from my dear mother.





These bowls are perfect for this recipe, but any kind of dish will work. The rice is placed in the bowl first, then the chicken egg mixture on top. The lid keeps it warm until serving.





And finally, sharing a fun little note about this recipe! Our oldest granddaughter & her husband just left a month ago for Japan, serving with World Venture. They love this dish, as well, and made it over there, shortly after I shared this recipe with her. How fun is that!

Happy cooking in your kitchen these days!
I'm sure you will enjoy this dish 
if you decide to serve it at your table! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

What to Do in Hard Times and in Every Time



What is my first response
when an unexpected hardship
enters my day, my life, my world?

When I hear difficult news, when
my world is enveloped with concern
and fear? My response is often the
same, and I become immobilized by
fear, and concern for those I love.

But by His Grace, and the gentle 
reminders of His Spirit within ...
we can turn our thoughts to Him.

Instead of first turning to the news,
we can begin to speak His truth and
His words to our troubled hearts.

Writing out His Words, speaking them
aloud, voicing them as a prayer,
taking time to memorize each word ...

Let all that I am wait quietly before You,
for my hope is in You.

You alone are my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.

My victory and honor come from You alone.
You are my refuge, a rock
where no enemy can reach me.

O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.

(Psalm 62:5-8 NLT)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Our Daily Joy



Good news
for today, for each day ...
whatever is before us,
the good and the hard,
the beautiful, the heartbreaks.

We take the next step, and we
do the next thing, we persevere.

And above all, we guard our
hearts, we fix our gaze on JESUS.
For He is the pioneer and perfecter
of all that we long for.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

In the Kitchen: Cupcakes, a Few Main Dish Recipes, and Bosch Machine Bread

It seems the weeks and months just fly by, and finally ... I'm taking some time today to post a fun collection of a few of the things that happened in my kitchen during the month of February!

Marshmallow-Filled Banana Cupcakes


My favorite cupcake recipe! I made them for the first time a few years ago with the help of one of our sweet granddaughters! Click here to see the recipe. They were perfect for a daughter's birthday last month!

Here you see one of the steps to making these very yummy marshmallow filled cupcakes.

Slow Cooker Lasagna


A new recipe that I tried for the first time ... and it is SO delicious! I pulled out my 9x13-size crock pot that I actually hadn't used for awhile ... perfect for this lasagna recipe! Click here for the recipe from the "Tastes Better from Scratch" blog where I've been finding some great recipes recently.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup


Another new recipe I tried in February, also from the "Tastes Better from Scratch" blog ... click here for the recipe. We loved this recipe, as well! I recently had ordered an immersion blender (at no cost to me, with rewards points!)and it worked just great to use with this recipe.

Homemade Bosch Machine Bread


Here's a little peek into a very fun thing that happened in my kitchen, using my brand new Bosch machine (a Christmas gift from my dear hubby, purchased for a great price on Black Friday last November)! 

I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks about this amazing machine that mixes up enough dough for six loaves of bread at a time!

Chicken Quesadillas


Another new recipe that has made it into my collection of favorite recipes ... and another one from "Tastes Better from Scratch"! Click here to access this creamy cheesy quesadillas recipe.

That's it for now - I hope this has been a bit of encouragement for you in your times "In the Kitchen"!