Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Some Changes To The Blog


July 31, 2012

Mornin' folks!

I just wanted to point out that I have made a few changes to my blog lately.

First, you can see that I have changed my background to a more pastel, 'arty' one. I just felt it was time for a change of scenery, so to speak. I like the softer, muted tones and the little forest shapes.

Secondly, you will notice that I no longer have a playlist of music. This is because the website that offered the playlist has decided that they no longer want to maintain music players off of their own site. I have no problem with this--it is their own choice. However, I decided that if folks have to go to another site to hear the music--it will take them away from my own site, and that just seemed a bit counter productive. So I deleted it, and I am now lookin' for a new site that offeres playlists. I think I may have found one through Lady Lydia's HOME LIVING blog--I will have to see how that one works. Hopefully I will have me some tunes up and runnin' soon.

I also added a few new blogs to my sidebar. I have been researchin' more and more blogs with a Christian homemaker slant. I sometimes get sidetracked from my role as wife and mother, so I need all the encouragement I can find!

So please welcome THE QUIET PLEASURES OF HOME--a wonderful blog that really focuses on being IN the home, not just stayin' there. ALso, I have added LAF--LADIES AGAINST FEMINISM. This site focuses on being Godly women accordin' to the teachin's of the Bible.

I will be addin' some more blogs, and I think I have figured out how to put videos into my posts, both personal and imbeddin' YOUTUBE ones.

I have a few more items from my Wall Of Wonders to post about, and those should be ready soon.

I am prayin' about a series of posts that have been inspired by several postin's by other bloggers. I want to address what they have to say on a subject, and then give my own views as I see them outlined in scripture.

Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© 2012 by Evelyn Edgett

Friday, July 27, 2012

Recent Readin'--Wall Of Wonder Part 7

July 27, 2012

Been busy, as usual, this week. Last Saturday, after Obie went to his father’s for the weekend, the Redneck and I finished our chores and headed up to Oklahoma to see Preach sworn in as a Second Lieutenant, Chaplain Candidate, in the U.S. Army Reserve.

It was great to see our friends again after a few months of bein’ gone. I mean—I love our new church amd the folks down here are wonderful—but they ain’t Grace Country folks, ya know? When you go through as much together as we all have in that little Okie church—you just really feel a closeness over time. I know that eventually we will reach that with our new church—like I said, it just takes time.

I was so proud of my “li’l brother”, as I call Preach. It ain’t easy doin’ what he’s doin’, and not only will he be a part of the military—so will his wife and children. The church will also have to be willin’ to support him as he performs his duties as what is called a ‘citizen soldier’. Of course, those of us who have served our country got the chance to rag on him about basic trainin’ and other aspects of his military future…{{grin}}. Can’t hardly wait to hear his ‘war stories’ about basic trainin’!

I got to see a wonderful film this week—AMISH GRACE. It was based on the shooting at an Amish school a few years ago. I am not a big sentimental movie kind of gal—but this one had me sheddin’ a few tears.

I also found a series of mysteries based in Amish country, by P. L. Gaus. The first one is BLOOD OF THE PRODIGAL. They are really good, and even though he basically GIVES you the clue that tells you who the killer is—I still didn’t see it comin’. I will be lookin’ up more of the series.

I also read GROWING UP AMISH, A Memoir of Ira Wagler. It’s an excellent record of a young man who just couldn’t find his place in either the Amish nor English (non Amish) world.

Okay—onto the Wall Of Wonders. I hope that by tellin’ ya’ll about the different gadgets I use each day, or at least once a week, I am helpin’ ya’ll to figure out what you might be able to use in your own frugal kitchens to assist you in savin’ money and makin’ good nutritious meals for your families.

Every kitchen has a blender—or SHOULD, in my opinion. From the humble two speeder to the magnificent VITA MIX—they all have the potential to help you save time and money.

I have a simple HAMILTON BEACH 10 SPEED model, which I got when a friend was downsizin’ from a big house to a 35 foot travel trailer. I think I paid about $5.00 for it at her yard sale. I’ve had it for about six years, and I use it a lot. I make a lot of fruit smoothies for breakfast, and when I am makin’ my ‘mock eggnog’—it helps all the ingredients blend together smoothly without any lumps.

I have read that some folks use their units to grind rice into flour, but I haven’t tried it. I would prefer to use a VITA MIX for that type of job. I had a VITA MIX a long time ago—loved it—but it was one of the old metal container ones, so it was hard to see what was goin’ on inside. I kept havin’ to stop the machine and stir stuff around to make sure I was gettin’ everything the way I wanted it. It was too much hassle, so I sold it to a friend. Someday I may come across a newer model with the clear container, and I will get it for heavier mixin’ and grindin’ jobs.

I like to make oat, almond, and other nut ‘milks’. I put about a cup of oats or nuts in the blender, then fill up to a third from the top with water, and blend on the highest speed for a few seconds. I use these milks just as I would regular milk—I have even used them in makin’ biscuits, and the results were good, even though the acids in regular milk weren’t there to help the biscuits rise. I make gravies, smoothies, ‘ice creams’, etc, usin’ these ‘mock milks’ if you don’t like bits floatin’ in the finished product—you can strain them out through a cloth or coffee filter. These milks keep well in the fridge, and when cold taste pretty darn good.

I use my blender to puree soups, and if THE JOY OF COOKING still has the recipe for blender hollandaise sauce—well, snag some artichokes or asparagus on sale and have at it!

Well, I got chores. Later ya’ll.
© 2012 by Evelyn Edgett



















Friday, July 20, 2012

Bueno Bloggin'--Wall Of Wonder Part 6

July 20, 2012

This mornin' I am bloggin' from a TACO BUENO. They have free WiFi, so Obie and I are partakin' of a breakfast burrito and the internet.

Why, you may inquire, are we at a fast food place? Well, the Redneck got yet ANOTHER good job offer, with even BETTTER pay and hours, so while he is at the interviewing process, we are simply hangin' about.

Also, askin' for prayer about this job opportunity. I know that if God wants hhim to have it, all will go smoothly. I'm just askin' for wisdom as we make these new decisions. As Joyce Meyer says, We're doin' our best and lettin' God handle the rest.


Okay,so the next item on my Wall Of Wonders is a very humble lookin’ device, but it has been of great service in my kitchen for over 20 years.

My little rice cooker was a gift from a Vietnamese neighbor. She learned that I love all kinds of Asian cookin’, but that I was hopeless when it came to cookin’ rice. So, for Christmas one year, she handed me a little white electric rice pot, and it has seldom been idle since. Most rice cookers can also be used as a steamer for veggies.

Rice, white, brown or wild, is a wonderful food. Inexpensive and fillin’, it can replace pasta and potatoes in meals. It’s delicious plain, with butter, for dinner. Add some brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup, and it’s a tasty breakfast dish. It can be incorporated into a casserole. And of course, beans and rice are a staple of many southern dishes. If you want to be adventurous, learn to make sushi rolls or other Asian delights. I almost LIVED on rice and seaweed rolls when I lived in Korea.

Rice can be in any type of meal—from Mexican cuisine to Italian, along with Japanese, Korean, or Chinese food. Here is a recipe for a great little snack from Italy, called:

Arancini—Rice Balls.
2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
½ cup grated cheese (most of the time you would use mozzarella, but I’ve used other types for different flavors)
¾ cup bread crumbs

Mix it all together in a bowl, form into 1 inch balls. Roll in more bread crumbs, then fry in oil in skillet until brown. You can serve these with spaghetti sauce.

I make them up as a way to use up leftover rice from dinner. You can add seasonings, like oregano for the Italian flavor, or a bit of taco seasoning when you use Mexican cheeses for a Southwestern taste.

Well, I got chores. Later ya’ll.
© 2012 by Evelyn Edgett

Monday, July 16, 2012

Been Busy--Yet ANOTHER Blessin'--Wall Of Wonder Part 5

July 16, 2012

Sorry I haven’t posted since just before the 4th of July, but I had a lot to do to get ready for the holiday, and since the Redneck ended up getting’ a whole FIVE DAYS off (YAY!!!!!!!!), I had to make certain that everything was taken care of so I could concentrate on enjoyin’ time spent with my Beloved and my son. While he was off—I didn’t do nuthin’ that didn’t include him, and after he went back to work—I had to catch up on what didn’t get done!

I hope ya’ll had a wonderful Independence Day. We went to a picnic held at a local ranch. There was food, fun and fellowship, and it was a gorgeous afternoon—not too hot, and the event was held under a couple of huge old oak trees, so there was cool shade.

With Brian off for almost a week, we had a great time. We all got caught up on our sleep, and we actually had the time to BROWSE when we went to the big library, instead of our usual “rush in, look around, grab whatever looks good and check out so we can get back home and have lunch and rest before Brian has to go back to work” whirlwind. I am thankful for his job—it’s just that we don’t always have time to do stuff before he has to go to work.

The book illustrations are just about finished, then I have to put it all together in the word processor program, print out the master copy and go have it printed up. After that—Eleanor will help me get the first run of copies bound. Like I posted earlier—I have a book signin’ set up, and I think that one of the big book stores has a poetry readin’ night, so I will check into participatin’ in that. I hope that after I read a poem or two, I will be allowed to hand out cards and perhaps set up a sale or two. Who knows? This is all in God’s hands, and He has a way of doin’ the most AMAZIN’ things, as long as I am smart enough to get outta His way.

I also hope to learn how to offer the book as an online purchase—an E book, I think it’s called. That is yet ANOTHER skill I have to master.

Just real quick—I wanna share the latest blessin’ that God has zapped us with. I have a nice little refrigerator that I bought about 4 years ago, and it works great. However, it is just a bit smaller than we need with the lifestyle we lead. (wow—that rhymed…scary….)

So I had hoped to perhaps find another fridge to use along with the one we had, to store extra produce and other things in. I figured I’d come across an older model that could sit under the carport. Just somethin’ to ‘get us by’.

Oh…WOW.

God doesn’t DO ‘just get by’.

A man who recently moved into a new house gave us—GAVE us—an AMANA side by side refrigerator/freezer, in perfect condition, cleaner than a frog’s armpit, not a scratch on it, NOTHIN’ wrong with it. Not very old, either, and when I get the hoses—it has a water/ice dispenser in the door!

This thing is so big—if I could solve the pesky runnin’ outta oxygen problem—I’d SLEEP in it and turn off my A/C.

I decided to put my fridge under the carport to hold sodas, extra carrots and other produce, and to store bags of ice I make in my table top ice machine, so we have plenty for events.

Ain’t God good?

YES HE IS!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I want to get back to my Wall Of Wonders today. The next item I wanna talk about is my 8 quart AROMA ROASTER. It is like the roasters most folks use to cook turkeys and such, just on a smaller scale. If you have a smaller family, or don’t need to cook up a huge batch of something—these 8 quart roasters are just right.
You can roast, stew, and even bake in them, and since you don’t need to heat up an oven for just one cake—your electric bill stays lower. I found mine on sale for half price one day—but even if I had to pay full retail—they are still under $100.00, and they pay for themselves very quickly, not just in electrical usage, but also in the time they save.

I love to cook up Puerco Pibil—a slow roasted pork dish from the Yucatan Peninsula. It is simple and easy to make, so we make it a lot—especially in the winter time. Unfortunately—it has to cook a long time at a low temperature, and that uses a lot of electricity from our oven. So, I tried makin’ it in my roaster one day—and it turned out perfect, in less time, and the kitchen didn’t get hot.

As all us Thriftologists know—dried beans are a great value, as well as a wonderful source of protein, fiber and other nutrients. I have developed a way of cookin’ them in my roaster that turns out a tasty, soft textured bean in a reasonable amount of time.

There are two common ways to prep a pinto bean for cookin—you can either soak them overnight and then cook them, or you can do a ‘quick cook’, where you bring the beans up to a boil, hold them there for a minute and then turn them off. Leavin’ the lid on the pot, you let them set for a hour and then bring them back to the boil. Then lowerin’ the heat, you let them cook until tender. I do a combination of the methods, unless I have to cook them the same day, then I just use the quick cook method.

I soak the beans at least until they are swollen, and I don’t drain them. I don’t think it prevents gas if you drain them, but it does lessen their flavor. So once they are swelled up, I put them into the roaster, add chopped up onions and any ham, brisket, Andouille sausage or other meat that I want to use, and make certain that there is enough water to cover everything. I bring it to the boil, let it go for a minute or so, then turn off the heat and let it set for the recommended hour. I then proceed cookin’ the whole mess as I stated earlier. I check it from time to time, and if the water level gets a bit low, I add HOT water. NEVER add cold water to beans, as this can stop the cookin’ process, and you end up with crunchy beans. You CAN salvage them, however, if you simply put them into containers in the freezer for a few days. When they thaw—they are generally softer, since the water freezin’ in the beans breaks the fibers down like cookin’ normally would. Needless to say—have another dish ready to go for supper if you have to do this!

I cooked beans this way a few days ago, and I not only ended up with enough beans for a hearty supper for my guys and me, I was able to put about 6 quarts of beans into the freezer for another time. When I am ready to serve them, I will simply take the containers out of the freezer and plop them into my trusty crock pot, to reheat durin’ the day while I am doin’ other things. Then, along with a salad, homemade cornbread, and sliced onions—we will have a delicious meal on fairly quick notice.

Dadgum—I’m getting’ HUNGRY!

If you love homemade bread, but don’t have a big enough family to bake an oven full of loaves, or if you don’t have a bread machine—you can experiment with usin’ the roaster as a bread oven. You can turn out some very pretty and TASTY loaves of yeast or even quick breads with a bit of effort.

Well, I got chores. Later ya’ll.
© 2012 by Evelyn Edgett

Monday, July 2, 2012

Been Busy And Hot--A God Thing Happens

July 2, 2012

Well, it has been busy around here since I last posted; I have helped my friend Elaine by doin’ a bunch of little yet really important tasks around her apartment—includin’ cleanin’ out a mint bed in front of her and her neighbor’s apartment. Someone had planted the mint years ago, and it had gotten so tall and thick that it was fallin’ over onto the little sidewalk, and causin’ problems for the seniors who live there. Some of them were havin’ trouble walkin’ around it and almost trippin’ over the stalks. One lady has a wheelchair, and the stalks on the sidewalk made it hard for her to maneuver the wheels on her chair.

I got out there and just began clippin’ and pullin’ the mint out. I put it into a box and some grocery sacks so I could take them home. I have gotten it to where the bed is much more neat and manageable. I should be able to keep it that way, since I go over at least every other week to work for Elaine. Few snips here, a few yanks there—much better.

Plus, it supplies me with mint! I brought all those stalks home and stripped the leaves off. I filled the trays on my dehydrator, and set it for the time required to turn the leaves into a lovely mixture for makin’ tea. The house smelled GREAT—in fact, all you could smell for two days after was mint—heavenly, I gotta say!

And the resultin’ tea? AWESOME. I simply fill my little four cup microwave steamer bowl with leaves and water, and zap it for about 9 minutes. I let it steep for a while, strain it into a large container and add water to the top. I keep it in the fridge. When I want a refreshin’ drink on a hot summer day, I just put ice in a glass, add a teaspoon of Stevia In The Raw or Truvia, pour the tea over it and stir well. VERY nice when you’ve been out hayin’ horses or doin’ other chores.

Okay—what else? Well, we’ve been stayin’ home a lot lately, due to the heat. It’s too hot to walk as much as we like, with temperatures above 100. Plus, my day seems to be taken up mostly with makin’ certain that the horses and dogs have plenty of water, along with movin’ everyone around to different pastures for fresh grazin’.

Last Sunday, we took the horse trailer up to Oklahoma and brought Obie’s horse, Shekinah Glory, home. We had been leavin’ her with friends who had a lot of pasture while we finished getting’ settled down here. Now it was finally time to reunite Obie with his beloved Palomino. I texted the Preacher at the cowboy church, explained why we wouldn’t attend that day, and requested prayer for the trip.

We got up there, got her loaded, visited with our friends for a while, and then headed back to Texas. Everything went great until we got to this side of Denton. I heard a “PSHEEEWWWWW!!!!!”.

A tire had just blown on the trailer. We limped down to a closed station, where we checked on Shekinah, who was just fine. The blown tire was on the other side from her, so that was no problem. We spent a bit of time playin’ musical tires, shiftin’ them around so we could still drive the trailer home safely. What should have been a 20 minute trip took a little over an hour, but we made it home safely, got Shekinah settled in, and crashed around 3 a.m.

I awoke at 6 a while later and went to check on the horse. She was doin’ great, and when Obie got home from his father’s house around 7—she whickered to see him, and he just ignored me and his dad to go pet her. It was a happy reunion all around. Later we parked and unloaded the trailer where we could work on it when we had a chance to get a new tire.

Everything was pretty calm after that—just routine days and nights for a while.

Then, Brian woke me up at 1:30 a.m. when he got home from work Saturday mornin’.

“Where’s the horse trailer?”

“What?”

“Where. Is. The. Horse. Trailer.”

“Um….where we parked it?”

No—it wasn’t where we had parked it. It wasn’t ANYWHERE on the property. We called the sheriff’s office and reported the theft. A really nice deputy came out and took the report, asked some questions, and took photos of the scene, includin’ some tire treads we didn’t recognize. After he left, we did the only thing we could do—we left it in God’s hands and went to bed.

The next mornin’ we all got up, did chores, called around to make certain nobody in the family had borrowed the trailer (they hadn’t), and then went to haul hay. We got home, and ate lunch. After lunch, we all lay down to rest like always do before Brian leaves for work. When the alarm went off at 1:15, Brian got up and walked into the kitchen. He looked out the window and said,

“The horse trailer is back!”

“You’re kiddin’!”

He wasn’t. We ran out to check the trailer. Everything was still in the tack door, and it was parked right where it had originally been. And not only was it back—the blown tire had been replaced!

We let the deputy know what had happened, so he could call off the ‘manhunt’, told Brian’s folks the trailer was back, and then just sat back and marveled at what had happened.

Someone had done a nice thing for us—we have no idea who or why. However, we know WHO to thank for this little miracle. I hope I never lose the wonder of God’s grace and miracle workin’ power in my life. I think sometimes He does little things like this just so I keep in mind how wonderful He is.

I posted a bit ago about how I try not to just look at the problems that occur in my life, but to keep in mind the bigger picture of what is happenin’. I mean—we could have freaked out about the trailer bein’ gone—we could have cursed the person who took it—we could have been angry and bitter about the whole thing. Instead, we decided to take sensible action by notifyin’ the law, and then we just let God handle it from there. We would have wasted the few hours that the trailer was gone, and then felt very foolish when it came back. Instead, we had peace about the situation, and while yes, we would have pressed charges had there been a real thief—after all, there have to be consequences for wrong behavior—we had pretty much asked the Lord to help us forgive whoever had taken it. Besides, our biggest joy was that the animals had not been harmed, and nothin’ else had been taken.

Basically—we REFUSED to carry a burden that was not ours to carry.

As it turned out—we were able to tell this story to others, and especially at church yesterday. After I had shared the tale—the Lord got a round of applause for His goodness. This is another tool to use when witnessin’ to folks about God’s mercy. It’s a lesson in what can happen when WE get outta HIS way, and just rest in His…well…REST.

As Jesus said in Mathew 11:28—
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

I dunno about ya’ll—but I get tired enough when I’m just doin’ what I’m SUPPOSED to be doin’. I refuse to add to my burdens anymore by lettin’ somethin’ I can’t do anything about wear me down further. I choose to hand my burdens over the The One Who can actually DO somethin’ about them.

Oh—just to make certain the person who did this knows how we feel—I’m puttin’ a big poster board sign up on the trailer that says, “THANK YOU!” Even when we don’t want to take credit for something we do—it’s still nice to learn our efforts are appreciated.

After all—it’s a God thing!

Well, I got chores. Later ya’ll.
© 2012 by Evelyn Edgett