Thursday, March 27, 2008

Edible Eggless Pancakes

So, my first attempt to make eggless pancakes was decent but William wouldn't eat them. Truth be told, I wouldn't either. Of course, kiddos are bit less refined in the area of taste discrimination so they gobbled them up. But, I still needed a recipe that would work for the whole fam, not just some.

This is what I'm stickin' with for awhile. It tastes pretty good, smells wonderful cooking, and is easy! Yippee!

Edible Eggless Pancakes

Whatcha Need

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (or less!) sugar
1 or 2 ripe bananas (depends on what you have on hand)
some applesauce
2 tablespoons (or so) oil
1 teaspoon (or so) vanilla
milk (or rice or soy milk)


Whatcha Do

1- In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

2- In a large, liquid measuring cup, mash bananas till fairly smooth. Then add enough applesauce to make for 1 or 1.5 cups fruit. Add oil and vanilla and mix more. Then add whatever kind of milk you want till ingredients in measuring cup make about 2 to 2.5 cups.
Note: You may desire to add more milk later, depending on how think you like your batter.

3- Add fruit mixture to dry ingredients and stir gently till all flour has been incorporated and is fairly smooth. Try not to over stir.

4- Pour desired about of batter into skillet with a little oil over medium-high heat and cook as usual.
Note: I like my eggless batter thicker than my traditional pancake batter to avoid the weird chewy texture that can happen. So- I use a 1/2 cup measuring cup (that sounds weird) and put a dollop of batter on the skillet and kinda smush it and spread it around ever so gently. Doing it this way I can cook four pancakes at a time.

Our Fave Homemade Fried Chicken

Looking for an easy but tasty and not deep-fried chicken recipe? Try this out. Oh- there are lots of steps but they are easy. The hardest part is cleaning and cutting up the chicken (in my opinion). In fact, if you're like us, you'd prefer making this with all skinless chicken thighs! And then it's REAL easy!!!

Easy Fried Chicken and Gravy (slightly adapted from HERE)

What Ya Need for the Chicken

1 whole chicken (3 or 4ish pounds)
~3/4 cup flour
season all (or something similar)
paprika
black pepper
whatever other seasonings you love
a few tablespoons of oil (I use vegetable)
~3/4 cup (or more!) water, divided
more seasonings you love


What Ya Do to the Chicken

1- Cut it up, wash it, and take off the skin (unless you like the skin!)
Note: I do this in a big bowl right in my sink and throw the "yuckies in a plastic bag right next to the sink. Less mess.

2- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and add to coat the chicken well.
Note: I'm still using my sink and that same bowl.

3- Heat 10 or 12 inch skillet with oil. Add chicken when it begins shimmering ( NOT SMOKING!). Add your seasonings to one side and be very liberal! Brown chicken on both sides very well. Add more seasonings when you turn the chicken over. Can take a good 15 or so minutes. Chicken will NOT be done!
Note: I brown the chicken breasts separately b/c they tend to be extra dry to us. Also, do not turn the chicken until it's looking pretty brown. If you mess this part up it won't get crispy.

4- After all pieces are browned add about 1/2 cup of water to the skillet. You want the bottom of the skillet to be completely covered in water. Add the lid and cook for about 10 minutes. Check for doneness.

5- Place chicken on a metal rack on a baking sheet. Try to not let chicken touch. Put in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes to crisp up.
Note: I put foil on the baking sheet for easier clean up.


What Ya Do for the Gravy

1- After putting the chicken in the oven, add a water and flour mixture (and any other seasonings you like) to the skillet. Wisk well to avoid lumps.
Note: I use about 1/4 cup of water and 2-3 tablespoons of flour and only add additional seasonings after tasting. Other good additions would be finely chopped shallots or onions, garlic, and thyme!

2- Stir over medium heat till desired consistency.

And if I wasn't so embarrassed to show how I butcher a whole chicken when I cut it up, I'd post a picture! But, nope! Perhaps next time...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Death

Almost three weeks ago a dear friend's mom died. And in such a twist of events that only the God of the universe could order, my friend's mom received the most precious gift she would ever be offered, salvation. Sins forgiven, conscience cleansed! Life with God forever. God of All, thank you for saving her! I can only imagine what her first Easter in eternity must've been like!
So, I've been thinking about death a bit. But mostly I'm seeing how I am not thinking about it enough!

This morning I was reading the Memoir section of The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and was struck by these lines:

Man must follow him who has served and passed through this world as the living, the dying and the risen Lord. Therefore, wherever it pleases God to put man in this world, the Christian must be ready for martyrdom and death. It is the only way that man learns faith.

Bonhoeffer's standing with God in his hour of grieving explains, ultimately, why he did not take his own suffering seriously and why his courage was so great and uncompromising.

What am I learning? That I believe my "suffering" (and I shudder at the truth that I actually think it is suffering!) can even begin to be compared to the suffering our Lord and Savior experienced on the cross. I am also seeing that when I forget that death is real and not as far from me as I would like to believe, I am led down that destructive path of misery because of my pride.

Lord, help me to keep ETERNITY in mind. Remind me through the mundane and the unexpectant that my life is but a breath. That I will stand before God one day not too far off. That You care about souls.

It's funny because in a previous post I shared how I've been WANTING a fence and we've been leaning in the direction of desiring one of those privacy fences. Well, just yesterday I was out in the backyard with the kiddos and their "nused" (new used) outdoor toy when a neighbor was peddling by and stopped to chat with me for a good 40 minutes.

And here are the kiddos playing outside:



William reminded me that I would not have had that conversation with a 6 ft privacy fence surrounding us. What exactly are we truly desiring when we say we want a privacy fence? And so our views are beginning to change (once again!) as we open our hands and say, "Lord, Your will be done."

Oh Lord, though death is not the end, eternity is sure to follow. Thank you that I know exactly where I will be for eternity. May death be continually in my view so that my compassion for souls lost grows. May death be continually in my view so that I see accurately and am compelled to act as You direct.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Needs and Wants

I believe the Lord is drawing my attention to how I am so quick to believe I am entitled to things. True, entitlement is rampant in our culture. But I've been blinded by my sin and haven't seen how I believe the lie that I DESERVE anything other than Hell.

As you may know from my previous post, I've really been blessed by Randy Alcorn's book, The Grace and Truth Paradox, and as I was completing the book this week I could see more and more how I have things categorized all wrongly in terms of my needs and wants.

Two situations really helped me see how stinkin' my thinkin' has been.

1) Joshua, upon finishing his dinner last night, sticks out his bottom lip in protest of me not providing dessert. He then proceeded to question me, "But why!"

This brief situation CLEARLY helped me see how we all have things that we feel / believe we are entitled to. I often foolishly challenge God with my own "But why" questions in different ways. And I wrongly believe I deserve an explanation! (Are you picking up on my self-righteousness and pride problem?!)

For our fam, it seems like having dessert almost every night is producing the fruit we don't want or need! In fact, we see the huge benefit in having it only on special occasions to cultivate a sense of thankfulness as well as the benefits healthwise. I want to be diligent in helping our kiddos see that God provides us with our every NEED and bestows grace upon grace on us. Yet, our GREATEST NEED (saving our souls!) has been accomplished when Jesus died on the cross and rose again. Hello? Can you say Easter?

2) I went to Aldi the other day and got two packs of crescent rolls to try a modified version of THIS. (I know, it's a dessert!) Anyway, since William and I got married on the 17th we try to recognize our marriage each month on the 17th in some small way. My way is often to provide a sweet treat and eat it after the kiddos go to bed! (We've since seen how hypocritical we've been!) But, I digress... I open the can to make the dessert as the butter is already melting in the pot on the stove when a moldy mess comes out of can #1. I proceed to can #2 (since William is wondering if "they have cinnamon on them!"). No! Both bad! Yuck!

A normal person wouldn't flinch at taking them back to the store but me... fear, fear, fear! I've had so many bad experiences with stores and banks and the like that William and I have almost an unwritten rule of he is the one to return things to stores, cash checks, etc. (That's a whole big ole story that involves race and is messy!) But, I needed to do this to say "I trust You, God!" I prayed on the way over to Aldi with my ziplock bag of disgusting crescent rolls, "Lord, Your will be done."

What does this have to do with needs and wants and true entitlements? Well, I WANTED to get my money back. I WANTED the person working to be kind and immediately understand. I WANTED ease. But I certainly didn't deserve that! Regardless of who was in the wrong, I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! I deserve to be questioned and challenged and suffer the wrath that God took on my behalf.

If I skipped that key part I wouldn't be as thankful to God as I am that the situation was resolved far better than I could've imagined. If the Lord didn't help me see MY sin I would not be able to give Him the glory that He alone deserves and the grace that I could NEVER earn.

So, I am beginning to really realize I NEED Him more than I need:
~ a privacy fence
~ a painfree pregnancy
~ to be a certain weight
~ gardening skills
~ uninterrupted sleep
~a maid (did I write that!?)

Nope. All of those are just WANTS I've categorized as needs in my entitlement challenge moments. And as we approach Good Friday I am becoming more and more amazed that Jesus died such a violent death for such a lowlife, self-absorbed woman as me. Thank you for Easter, Lord!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Grace & Poop Paradox

In my Quiet Time this morning I made time to read chapters 1 and 2 of The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn. One line I was really affected by I shared with William at breakfast. Randy tells a brief story about him meeting with a woman who "raised her voice and cursed freely." He writes, "Jesus went to the cross for her - the least I could do was listen."



WOW!



As I shared this with William I said I wanted to remember that phrase because it was so helpful. I even said, "Jesus went to the cross for Saraina. The least I can do is clean up her poop." Well, guess what happened already this morning?



Yep. She pooped in her underwear and it wasn't even 9 am. My first reaction (and honestly second and third!) was anger. I said to God out loud, "Why?" In training and disciplining the kiddos I get absolutely confused. Am I trying to potty train her too early? Does she need to be disciplined? Is she understanding? How do I clean this up with a joyful heart? How many times do I have to go through this?



But, in the midst of my anger and sin, I remembered what God directed me to in my Quiet Time. This situation was another example of me needing to display grace AND truth. I can't allow for one to be the dominant force. I need to show both. I said to myself, "Jesus died on the cross for Saraina. The least I can do is clean up her poop."



So, I cleaned up her and her poop. And then during Circle Time as the kids were reciting their memory verses and Saraina loudly (and correctly!) got Philippians 2:14 right, I used that to share with them how Mommy sinned just minutes earlier. I confessed my anger and my grumbling and questioning during Saraina's accident. I asked Saraina to forgive me for my anger towards her and told them that I needed to ask God to help me, "Do all things without grumbling or questioning." Funny how God uses Circle Time to grab my attention and help me see MY sin. And oh, how Saraina was quick to forgive her Mama!



Oh- and if you have ANY wisdom on potty training that may help me, please do share as I am hating this potty training thing!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Two Recommendations

Family Christian Stores has this kids Bible with CDs on sale for $5 in their stores (though online it looks like it's $7.50). Grab this! I got one and ended up going back for a 2nd to hold in my "gift drawer" but ended up giving it to Saraina just this morning. It was so precious to see them this morning sitting side by side on the couch listening to the CD and following along with their Bible. Plus, it gave me more than enough time to get in the shower while they were listening!

It was also cute that Joshua excitedly pointed out the same story we read in another Children's Bible in our Circle Time. He completely recognized the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 from our earlier reading. Thank you, Lord! He's actually listening!

The other recommendation for everyone, not just those who are homeschooling, is to read what's happened in California. Please go HERE. They have a petition that we believe is worth signing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Haircuts

Most of you know how much I hate hair. Well, Kadin's curls have been adorable but he's now a big ole toddler so... clip, clip, clip. And yes, I have no idea how to cut hair. But that didn't stop me!

And my hair has been in such bad shape that I tried to get it all shaved off. The owner of the salon, however, talked me into just going for real short in the back and a bit of a style in the front. She assures me that I can maintain this look without much effort. I told her before she began that I hate hair, I'm cheap, I'm pregnant, I've got 3 under three at home, and I will not be a regular customer. Sooo, we shall see.

Here's what we look like. (And, Mom, no I did not put on any make-up so my bags under my eyes remain as unattractive as ever. I probably hate make-up only slightly less than I hate hair!)





Kadin before his haircut. Bad shot. Sorry.Kadin after his cut.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday!!!

There is much I would like to write in honor of your birthday but for the sake of time I'd like to focus on three reasons I am particularly thankful to the Lord for creating you.

Reason #1 - I thank the Creator for making you such a fun person to be around. Seriously, I remember all of my friends growing up loving being around you. You have this magnetic personality that instantly makes others comfortable. You truly love people and enjoy learning about them and being with them. The kiddos love the way you are so quick to get to their level and play hard. And personally I can recall many fun times eating McDonald's fries, Breyer's Vanilla ice cream, and laughing on your bed. (Of course, you always had to have a tall glass of ICE COLD water!)

Reason #2 - I thank the Creator for designing you in such a way to have you persevere through many tough times. There is no need to delineate what those "tough times" are. We ALL have them. But, I have so learned the importance of never giving up from your example and I am truly grateful.

Reason # 3 - I thank the Creator for your love of a variety of foods and your love for preparing them. That may seem dumb but I count it a blessing to have been exposed as a kid to so many kinds of good foods our Creator has given us. There are only a few things that I am reluctant to try and eat because you showed me the value in always trying something. In addition I love cooking and eating because of you. I remember spending lots of time watching you make meals and you were always quick to let me experiment in the kitchen. I remember Nikki spending the night and you letting us make menus and prepare breakfast in our "restaurant." I also remember (along with your white son!) the meal you prepared for William during our brief visit to your place on our honeymoon. (Truly, that meal was all about you showering William with love. Not me!)

So, thank you for being a passionate person who is fun to be around, perseveres, and showers those she loves with good food. May the Lord bless you allow you to grow those gifts as you use them to bring our King all the honor He is due!

I love you,
~kia
Oh, and here's a video of some of your grands wishing you a Happy Birthday as well!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Another Recommendation

I was not intending to blog today but I checked Randy Alcorn's blog and was reminded of the fallen world in which we live. Being pregnant may make me extra sensitive to these issues but I hope not.

Anyway, if you've got a moment, check THIS out. And here is his concluding paragraph (to let you see what he's blogging about today):

I do not believe Margaret Sanger was insincere or incorrect in everything she said and did. Nor do I believe most people who support abortion rights are racists, any more than I believe there are no racists among prolifers. I do believe that regardless of motives, a closer look at both the history and present strategies of the prochoice movement suggests that “abortion for the minorities” may not serve the cause of racial equality nearly as much as the cause of white supremacy.

In God I trust,
~kia