Sunday, December 16, 2018

Granny's Christmas Reading: Review of "Half-Broke Horses" by Jeannette Walsh

Half Broke HorsesHalf Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I motored through this well-written, tell-it-like-it-was memoirs ("true novel") of Jeannette Walls' maternal grandmother. I am not quite sure why I picked it up, except that I was in a compulsive reading state (allergies, fed up with FB), since my experience reading the memoir of Walls' own childhood, "Glass Castle" was the sort where I felt triggered and zoned-out after reading it.

Then I remembered how Walls had held her maternal grandmother up as the one safe and nurturing adult in her childhood. This was that story.

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Lily Casey grew up on a Texas ranch in the early 1900s-- she was her father's 'right hand' in many ways, and helped him with breaking horses for his carriage horse business. She was an all-round hard-working rancher as a child, and also had an active brilliant intelligence that helped her get ahead in the "3 Rs" and have a recognition early-on that she didn't have to be reliant upon an early marriage (as her mother said) to have a good life. She went about having an adventuresome, passionate, active, fun-loving time from the time she left home to be a school teacher in some far-off, remote place at age 15 through her eventual marriage to a man 20 years her senior until her years as the grandmother that Jeannette Walls looked up to.

One of the book cover reviewers suggested that this book was a Laura Ingall Wilders type of story, but for adults. I would agree with that, and how I loved that author's family adventure stories when I was a child.




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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bree and Smoky Bree Vegan Cheese Recipes: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Soy-free


My husband grew up in a European home (he was born in Canada, the only child in his family to have accomplished that) and cheese was a big feature of everyday eating and entertaining.

He loved cheese.  Any kind.  Soft sweet Camembert or "hand-made" Cheeses that smell and taste somewhat like a sporty boy's laundry (not that I've tasted that, but you know...).  I honestly don't think there is a cheese that he did not love.

Then.... we began to cross from ovo-lacto Vegetarian Land (a nice place to live if you adore dairy products and eggs) into Vegan territory.   We did it for health reasons, mainly (we ALL have dairy sensitivity and/or allergies), and for ethical reasons (our older son got physically ill when served an egg as a small child-- he was adamant that we were eating a baby chick-in-the-making.  And you know, he WAS right.

The more we learned about the many benefits of eating vegan, the faster our face accelerated into the vegan arena.  Three of the four of us are now vegan.  So, my husband has done some 'flexitarian' moves throughout our calling ourselves vegan (i.e., eating cheese here and there when he is out, mainly-- none comes into our house).  He still loves dairy cheese, but is not so much in love with being congested, having that moldy cheese breath, or knowing what the cholesterol is doing inside his arteries.

But it wasn't until I made these particular "Bree and Smoky Bree" recipes, that we both went "ah hah!"   Try them and see what you think!!

BREE CHEESE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can Full-Fat Coconut Milk (organic, of course)
  • 1 T. fresh Lemon juice (or 1 ice cube of frozen lemon juice)
  • 1/4 C. Water
  • 2 tsp. Coconut Aminos (or Bragg's Aminos)
  • 2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 T. Nutritional Yeast (not Brewer's Yeast or Baker's Yeast)
  • 2 T. Agar Powder (not Agar flakes)
Powder Mix, measured out and sifted into a small bowl:
  • 2 T. Corn Starch (organic) or other starch such as Arrowroot or Potato Starch
  • 1 T. Tapioca Starch
  • 1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
  1. Blend the first 7 ingredients on high in a blender until fully mixed.  The coconut milk will look curdly, but that is okay-- it will smooth out in the next step.
  2. Pour the blender ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk continuously over medium-high heat until the mixture bowls.  Reduce heat and continue to whisk for another 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.  (HAVE YOUR POWDER MIX READY)
  3. Pour the hot mix into the blender, and then immediately add the Powder Mix.
  4. Blend right away until the mass gets thick (doesn't take long).  Scrape down the sides of the blender.
  5. Pour into any shape of container you wish.  You can lightly oil the pan, or you may use silicone containers that do not require oil.  I used a pie plate in this recipe and it is easy to cut wedges like you would with a wheel of actual brie.
  6. Allow it to set in the fridge for about 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Slice and use.  It becomes firmer over time.  Use up in about a week.  Makes a wonderful spread for sandwiches or on crackers, etc.  Eat for dessert with fruit of choice.
SMOKY BREE CHEESE


INGREDIENTS:



  • 1 can Full-Fat Coconut Milk (organic, of course)
  • 1 T. fresh Lemon juice (or 1 ice cube of frozen lemon juice
  • 1 T. Liquid Smoke (I used Hickory that I bought at the health store)
  • 1/4 C. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Coconut Aminos (or Bragg's Aminos)
  • 2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 T. Nutritional Yeast (not Brewer's Yeast or Baker's Yeast)
  • 2 T. Agar Powder (not Agar flakes)
Powder Mix, measured out and sifted into a small bowl:
  • 2 T. Corn Starch (organic) or other starch such as Arrowroot or Potato Starch
  • 1 T. Tapioca Starch
  • 1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
The directions for the Smoky Bree are the same as for the Bree, but with the addition of the Liquid Smoke, and a lesser amount of the Aminos.  

I made mine in large silicone muffin cups, but again, you can choose any shaped pan.  I got about 3 large muffin-size cheeses.





Friday, November 23, 2018

Praying the Scriptures for my Grandies


We have two sweet, beautiful, loving granddaughters-- currently 11 and 13-- and it is my greatest desire to be the kind of grandmother who upholds her granddaughters in prayer daily.

We live in different provinces and have varied, busy schedules that do not always allow for us to connect by phone or social media in that satisfying way that can occur when you live nearby your loved ones, and can gather on a fairly regular basis for meals, chats, concerts, movies, sleepovers, church, just for the sheer joy or as a support.  Prayer is really key to our having the relationship we want with our grandies.  Regardless of distance or other access issues, we can play a significant role in their lives by interceding through our prayers for their needs.

Praying the Scriptures

Sometimes when we pray we find ourselves repeating the same phrases, wondering if we have really conveyed what it is we are wanting God to provide. 

 The Bible is God's Word for us.  There are hundreds of different translations in hundreds of languages.  You can read it or listen to it read by someone else.  If you have already started or established a personal relationship with Jesus, the actual "Word" for each of us, << as you can read about in the first chapter of the first book of John, one of his disciples, I am certain that you will find the use of Scriptures will really enhance your prayer experience.  If you are not a Christian, but just want to learn about this type of prayer, welcome! 

God values prayers in your own words that you pray, and He is faithful to answer them.  It is not mandatory to pray with attached Scripture.  But using the God-inspired phrases that have guided people through the Ages is a wonderful powerful blessing for the person doing the praying, and for the grandchild who is being prayed for.  

You can read the Bible and pray as you find verses that particularly resonate with you-- often in Proverbs or Psalms-- but you can also find a lot of books and blogs that have done the work of sorting out appropriate scriptures for different situations, needs, desires.  Then, you simply place your loved one's name into the Scripture, and voila! you are "praying Scripture" for them.

I am reading an older version of the book called Praying the Scriptures for Your Children: Discover How to Pray God's Purpose for Their Lives available in several different formats through Amazon.  The author, Jodie Berndt, has included a lot of wonderful assists in understanding and "customizing" Scriptural prayer to individual and situational needs.  It's an easy, enjoyable read with lots of wonderful examples of how God has responded to prayers on a lot of different areas such as faith, character, safety, relationships with peers and siblings, and for the understanding and awareness of purpose for the child's future.  I will be reflecting on some of what Jodie writes in upcoming blogs (topics listed below this article) about praying for our grandies, as well as using other books, blogs and videos to elucidate the joys of being a personal prayer ministry to your grandchildren.  I hope you will check out the blog posts and be blessed through this delightful way to contribute to your grandchildren's lives, now and in their futures.  (I have met so many grateful adults who tell me that "my grandmother prayed for me".)


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Discovering How To Pray God's Will for My Grandies

I believe that God's Will is ultimately for the very best in our lives: health, relationships, wisdom, learning, etc.  The rub is in recognizing that God knows the beginning from the end-- He has a plan for our lives, and for the lives of each one of His children-- and what might seem like God's Will, might be our own slightly blurry understanding of how things must work out to appease our less than crystal clear perception of what He truly has planned for us.    The New English Standard Bible quotes Paul as writing the following in a letter to the Roman Christian Community (Romans 12:2):
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

When we pray using  actual words from Scripture-- the picture of what he truly desires for us and our families-- we glimpse the wonderful, powerful, positive gifts he wants to give us and those we pray for.  He has a purpose for each one of us, and it is 'what is good and acceptable and perfect'.  Praying daily will reveal that purpose for each of our grandchildren, and for each of us individual praying grandparents.  Exciting, yes?

PRAYING SCRIPTURE FOR THE GRANDIES (POSTS):

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Recipe - vegan, GF

Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe- Yes, As Good As It Looks! 
If you enjoy roasted brussels sprouts, this recipe is one of the best that I have come across.  It is pretty easy to put together in a short time, and makes for a lovely holiday dish or addition to a potluck.

I love brussels sprouts-- or teeny cabbages!  And I also love the combination of the slightly bitter brassica with sweet potatoes, that you get in this recipe.  Because, of course, sweet potatoes have that ... um... sweetness that offsets the slight herby bitterness of the sprouts. 

The recipe I was inspired by used finely grated lemon zest and thinly sliced scallions... I have substituted my health-promoting whole lemon and garlic puree, that you can learn about and use as well in this recipe-- Chris Wark from Chris Beat Cancer swears that this formulation destroys cancer cells, and really amps up your immunity in general.  Or just go with the lemon zest and thinly sliced scallions.

Sometimes when I am working with Brussels Sprouts I think of that song from "Sesame Street" that drilled the number 'ten' called "Ten Tiny Turtles" and included these lyrics:
                             
                             We'll need ten cans of black-eyed peas 
                                 They give you good strong muscles 
                                    Ten of those tasty sprouts 
                                       The ones that they call brussels 



This particular recipe contains olive oil and vegan margerine, or coconut oil. If you are cooking without oils and other visible fats, you can make your usual adaptations.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds (700 g) Brussels Sprouts frozen or fresh trimmed and halved
  • 1 medium to large Sweet Potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 C. (or less) Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (or melted Coconut Oil; Broth for Oil-Free)
  • Sea Salt or Kosher Salt, and cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/4 C. (60ml) Maple Syrup
  • 1/3 C. (80ml) Balsalmic Vinegar
  • 3 T. Vegan Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 1 T. Whole Lemon and Garlic Puree OR 3 Scallions, sliced thin and 1 tsp. Lemon Zest

METHOD FOR MAKING THE BEST ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS & SWEET POTATOES

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F/230C
  2. If using frozen Brussels Sprouts, I found it helpful to parboil them (in water to cover until a good rolling boil) for a couple of minutes.  Drain immediately in a collander and let them cool a few minutes.  I use the frozen organic baby Brussels Sprouts from Costco and do not need to half them or trim them.  For fresh, farm-grown Brussels Sprouts, trim them and half them.
  3. Toss the sprouts in the oil and salt and pepper.  Repeat with the sweet potatoes.
  4. Put an oven rack on the bottom of your oven.
  5. Line your baking dish or broiling pan with parchment paper.  Arrange the veggies on two ends of the pans, fresh brussels spouts cut ends down on one end, and sweet potatoes on the other end.
  6. Roast the veggies for about 20-25 minutes on the bottom rack.  They should be deep brown, perhaps even charred.
  7. Bring the Maple Syrup to a simmer over medium heat in a small sauce pan, stirring continually with a wooden spoon.  Let it simmer for about 3-4 minutes before removing from the heat and whisking in both the vinegar (pour slowly to avoid bubbling) and the butter and a pinch of salt.  Return to the medium heat and continue to whisk continually until the syrup and vinegar have transformed into a a glossy, bubbling glaze that is beginning to thicken.  3-4 minutes.
  8. Transfer the Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes to a large serving bowl (or a serving vessel that you might want to use in a microwave oven at the potluck).  Add the glaze and the Lemon-Garlic Puree (or Scallions/Lemon Zest) to the bowl and toss to combine.  
  9. Enjoy!

3 Fun Things To Do With Grandkids in Edmonton, Alberta

3 Fun Things To Do With Grandkids in Edmonton, Alberta
Visit Fort Edmonton Park & A Review of Other Things You Can Do With Kids & Grandkids In Edmonton,Alberta (CLICK above)