23 April 2018

Just a Coincidence or Something More?

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I hope that everyone is feeling well, doing good, and sharing her joie de vivre with others.

As frequent gentlelady readers of this humble effort may have inferred, I am relocating my household soon.  To that end, for the past several months I have been culling my belongings as my health and free time have allowed.  Several items are on my personal "lost items" list due to the disorganization of my last move, which occurred in haste because of threats to my family's safety.  

One of those items was my first Bible, a gift from my maternal grandparents.  For obvious reasons, this Bible is precious to me and its possible loss pained me.  I am happy to report that just a few minutes ago, I opened a box and there it was.  Deo Gratias!

I thumbed through the Bible, noting  the gift page in my precious grandmother's handwriting and reviewing the various passages I had underlined and annotated.  One of those passages stood out as a real coincidence. 

James 1:17 was highlighted:  "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."  

The annotation made for an interesting coincidence, however:  "_______ to me 4/23/01."  The name in the blank is the name of the former suitor with whom I was involved at the time (not Braveheart), and seventeen years ago tonight, he said that I was his good and perfect gift from God.  We did not marry because it turned out that our goals in life were very different, but the gentleman will always be very special to me.

Of all the days of the year for me to find my Bible!  Reading the verse and the annotation gladdened my heart and helped me to remember God's love and providence.

Agape always,

20 April 2018

Femininity Friday: Vintage Cooking 2~Marinated Mushrooms

Courtesy of Microsoft

Original Marinated Mushrooms

1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
½ cup (brand name) corn oil
½ cup vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ Tablespoon dried basil leaves
A dash of pepper

Mix together all ingredients.  Chill several hours.  Makes about 5 cups.

Comments:  Mushrooms were a more exotic food in the days when the cookbook was published than they are today; therefore, I believe that this dish would have had more "wow" factor than it does today.  The parsley-basil-dry mustard combination doesn't thrill me, but there again, using herbs and dry mustard would have been considered elegant and a tad edgy at the time.

Cynthia’s Earth Day Marinated Mushrooms

One pound fresh Colusa county white mushrooms, sliced
½ cup olive oil, preferably pressed in Calaveras county 
(Yes, the Calaveras county of frog jump fame.)
½ cup rice vinegar, fermented in Sacramento, California
Two toes garlic, preferably grown in beautiful downtown Gilroy, California
Three Tablespoons fresh, homegrown cilantro, chopped roughly
One teaspoon cumin

Method:  Mix together all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl.  Chill overnight and until lunch, probably about eighteen hours.  Since I am sharing this dish at an Earth Day picnic on Sunday afternoon, I will transfer to a serving bowl and nest the serving bowl in a larger bowl full of ice to keep the mushrooms at a safe temperature.   

Comments:  Choosing locally grown ingredients not only makes whatever we cook more healthful because the ingredients are fresher, it helps the environment by cutting down on pollution and helps local farmers to sell their wares at competitive prices.  The bite of the vinegar, combined with the smoky cumin, the soapy cilantro, and the pungent garlic will complement the sweetness of the mushrooms.


14 April 2018

Femininity Friday: Vintage Cooking--Apricot Nut Bread

Courtesy of Microsoft

Dear Ladies,

One of my hobbies is collecting and cooking from vintage cookbooks, and I have amassed about fifty or so over the years.

I find it somewhat humorous that the cookbook from which I learned to cook--Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1969 edition--is now considered vintage.  The feeling is akin to hearing a pop song from one's teen years playing on the "oldie" or "classic rock" station.  

But I digress.

This past week, as I continued culling and reorganizing my belongings, I found one of my smaller collection pieces tucked into a box of general books.  Simply...Good Cooking: 101 Recipes to Enjoy and Share was part of a sub-genre of vintage cookbooks published by product companies, which heavily featured the foods manufactured by the company in the recipes.  The booklet lacks a copyright date, but my guess would be late 1950s/early 1960s.  Fair use is claimed as the booklet has been out of print for at least fifty years and because the recipe is being used as instruction and critique.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share one recipe each Friday, one from each section of the cookbook, along with my update of and commentary about the recipe.  I hope that you enjoy my humble effort and that my "little woman-to-woman ideas" help you.

Agape always,

The Original Apricot Nut Bread

3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups unsifted white flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (brand name) margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (brand name) light corn syrup
1 cup chopped nuts

Grease and lightly flour 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan.  Pour water over apricots and let stand 15 minutes.  Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, stir margarine, beat in sugar, eggs and corn syrup until smooth and well blended.  Mix in apricot mixture and nuts.  Gradually mix in dry ingredients.  Pour into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F. oven about 1 1/4 hours or until cake tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack.  Serve with jam or jelly, if desired.  Makes 1 loaf.

Cynthia's Apricot Nut Bread

3/4 cup hot water
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder, preferably without aluminum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 cup chopped nuts

Method:  Rehydrate apricots in hot water for fifteen minutes; drain off excess liquid.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan with cooking spray or grease and flour the loaf pan.  Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar, whipping until fluffy.  Combine the eggs and apple sauce into the butter and sugar mixture.  Stir in the dry ingredients by the half cup until fully incorporated.  Add the chopped nuts.  Place the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for one hour and fifteen minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  I don't perceive that the bread needs a topping, but softened cream cheese or butter could be used.  

Comments:  I updated the ingredients to improve the overall nutrition of the bread without compromising the taste and texture.  Whole wheat flour, no-aluminum baking powder, sea salt, butter, and apple sauce: these ingredients positively contribute to health for most people.  I felt that the sugar could be cut by a third without negatively impacting the sweetness of the bread and that the apple sauce would be an improvement over the corn syrup.

03 April 2018

April's Fascinating Days

Courtesy of Microsoft
April’s Fascinating Days

1 Pascha - Thank You, Lord!
2 Bunny and Egg Fun Day
12 Drop Everything and Read Day - We need no encouragement in this observance!
14 Poem in Your Pocket Day - Memorize and recite a short poem
17 Haiku Day - Read several examples with the youngsters and write a few of our own
22 Earth Day - Enjoy a picnic lunch at a park that we have never been to before
23 Shakespeare Day - Enjoy Chess Pie and perform a speech
30 Eeyore’s Birthday - Have some fun (Poohsticks, perhaps?) with a family member of melancholy temperament (We don't celebrate naughtily: Austin, Texas, I'm looking at you!)

The entire month is Autism Awareness month.  I have been learning more about Autism, and I encourage all of you to learn more, too.  I have been concentrating on books; however, the Wikipedia page on Autism will give a helpful overview.  If you know a mother who has a child or children with Autism, why not do something kind for her?

April’s Reading:

The FBI Nobody Knows - Fred J. Cook
Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew - Ellen Notbohm 

I am happy to report that the major causes of my health problems have been identified.  Please continue to pray for us as I will be searching for an appropriate and safe place for us to live.  I pray for all my gentle readers every day (even a certain ex-boyfriend visitor who is not a fascinating woman, let me tell you!).

Hugs and love!

Agape always,


30 March 2018

Femininity Friday: Forgiveness

Courtesy of Microsoft

Dear Ladies,

I hope that you all are feeling well, doing good, and sharing your joie de vivre with others.  This week, not without reason, I have been pondering the concept of forgiveness.

We would be lost without forgiveness.  We all do things every day--usually unintentionally, but sometimes very intentionally--that transgress the word of God and that hurt other people.  Doing so just seems to be human nature.  We blunder through life, and we sin every day.  The key is to seek forgiveness from God and from the people we have offended (if doing so would be safe and appropriate), and we must also learn to forgive.

Learning to forgive those who have hurt us helps us to grow in charity and humility and love.   Does forgiving others mean what they did was acceptable?  I don't believe so, no.  To my way of thinking, when we forgive those who have offended us, we release ourselves from bondage to whatever act hurt us, lessening the likelihood that our spirits will be embittered.

Good Friday is the day when Christians the world over commemorate the Crucifixion of Jesus, whom we regard as our Lord and our Savior.  For  His sake, I beg you to forgive me for anything I have written or done that upset you in any way.

As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped you.

I wish you and yours a blessed Paschal Triduum.

Agape always,