Saturday, July 30, 2011

A world gone wrong, and a dessert done right.

Have you ever started a project and it turned out awful?  I have.  This is the point where you have a choice.  Fix it, or toss it.  I am reading Gods word this morning and as I sit here wrapped in the peace of his presence through his word I find myself in awe of the depth of his reality.  I see a tiny glimpse of his mind, and I see an overwhelming amount of his love and compassionate nature.
I was doing a little word search on “heart” and I started at the top of my list and found myself right up there in the beginning, good ole Genesis.  The top of the heading for chapter 3 in my Bible is “A World Gone Wrong.”
God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  And it grieved the LORD that he had made man on earth.  It grieved him at his heart. (Another translation I have says “it broke his heart.”)
And the LORD said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth.   Yes, and I will destroy every living thing- all the people, large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky.  I am sorry I ever made them.” Genesis 6:5-7
He wanted to scrap a large part of his creation, including us; wipe the slate of earth clean.  Do you see how real this is?  Do you see that God was disgusted with what he made had become?
…BUT! And this is a pretty sweet but for Noah and his family.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  This is the account of Noah and his family.  Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. Genesis 6:9
I am sure most of you have heard the story of Noah.  I picture God looking at earth and shaking his head like, ‘really, wow, nothing is good about this place.  I made it good, but these little stinkers are rotten to the core.’  Then God considers Noah and that Noah is the only one on earth worth saving.  So because of Noah and his righteous relationship with the Lord (which my mind is totally spun up around; I wonder what Noah's walk with God was like), Noah’s family and Noah got instructions for their salvation; blueprints for the ARK.  And God wiped the world clean.
How did Noah’s relationship with the Lord work? I am going to be really praying about this.  Why?  Because I want it.
Lord, thank you for these few minutes this morning to soak up some good word.  Your word is life and health to those who find them.  Write it on the walls of my heart.  Give me the ability to memorize your scriptures, commit them to my memory so that they will be as if they are written in spiritual Sharpie that is permanent and will never fade.  Oh Lord, please let me have understanding as I continue to press in and dig into your word. I only want your truth to shine forth, not my own understandings, but your true meaning behind what is written.  I pray that you will wrap me all up, snug as a bug in a rug, with your love.  I pray for peace for your people who are seeking you.  I pray that you will guide the path of their feet and that you will put us in each other’s way so that our lives will intersect and we can have fellowship.  Thank you for good God conversations with new friends last night.  You are so merciful to us.  We love you so much.  I pray today for little boys that they will be perfect with the potty, that they will be obedient, that I will be patient and that I will raise them and train them up right.  I pray for a day filled with fun adventures.  Thank you Lord for your tender nature and way that you usher me along.
I think that this blog is for me.  I hope that you can glean something from it.  But as I read and write it down it makes so much sense as my spirit, soul, mind, heart, thoughts, finger tips bring this all up and break it all out.  God knows my heart; whether I like it or not.  I am ashamed when I see certain things, but I find great joy in knowing that he is working it all out.  To his glory, not mine.  Just the way it is supposed to be.  *Sigh* I love him.
Yesterday at my job we had a going away party for our teller supervisor whose last day was today… *tear* {I am going to miss your beautiful smiling face Nicole!}  But at the same time, because you left, we got to have a Mexican Fiesta Party Extravaganza to send you off.  And because we had a Mexican Fiesta Party Extravaganza, I got to have the most delicious dessert I have tried in ages!  It was so good, I tracked down the angel who brought it.  Our bank manager and Joplin Globe columnist, Cheryl Finely.  Give her a hand folks!  CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP, HORAY!!!! Cheryl!

Not only did she bring this delicious dessert, but she gave me the recipe, and it was too easy to be true.  So I made it last night because today is Colby’s birthday, our good friend who moved to Joplin from Seattle right before the tornado.  Happy Birthday Colby! High 5!
This was ridiculously amazing. My taste buds were stunned, and the little buggers demanded more.  So I naturally gave into their demands.  They are very convincing little guys.

Here you are folks, straight from Pillsbury…The easiest and tastiest little recipe you may ever come across. Andi Beres can attest to the easiness of this recipe because when I was done she said, “that’s it?” 
Yep, that’s it!

Sopapilla Cheesecake
16 ounces cream cheese
2 cans refrigerated crescent dough
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar

1 Using a 9 x 13 baking pan, unroll one package of crescent refrigerated dough and line the bottom of the pan.

2 Mix together the cream cheese, sugar and extract.

3 Spread over the crescent rolls.

4 Unroll the other can of crescent rolls and place on top of cream cheese mixture.

5 Pour one stick of melted butter or margarine over the top and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture.

6 Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

I hope you have a wonderful Saturday.  I will talk to you tomorrow.  Ok, bye!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Glowing for God and Glow-bug Juice

I made a new friend today!  Her name is Dawn and she came by the bank for what she thought was going to be a loan application, but she walked out of my office with a dinner date! :-) It's how I roll.

Tomorrow night Dawn and her husband Tim are going to come out to dinner with Sam and I.  I am very excited.  You know how some people you meet and you instantly love them.  I instantly loved Dawn.  She radiated with a light that can only come from the joy and peace of having a living active relationship with the ultimate light generator, Jesus. Whew, that was a sentence full!  I was so blessed this morning; when you meet someone who has Christ at the center of their life you know...because they glow.

And guess what?  She likes tea parties too!!!  I love tea parties with the cute little tea sandwiches, scones, lemon curd, devonshire cream, tartlets... mmmm, tartlets are delicious.  I will have to make you some tartlets and blog about them.  They are one of my favorite things to make.

So a week ago I mentioned that Sam was having only juice for an entire week.  I took some pictures of what I juiced for him.   We watched a documentary on Netflix that was awesome and it really encouraged Sam to do a juice fast for 7 days.  He only cheated a few times, overall he did really good.  We highly recommend this documentary: Fat, sick, and nearly dead.

As a society our lives are a little out of balance with our diet/ activity level.  Sam and I for the last year have been working hard to strike a balance and really be diligent about making good wholesome food for our little growing family.  Sam regularly falls off the wagon and binges on Taco Bell and Mountain Dew, his old standby.  Someday he'll learn!

Sam's Aunt Kim loaned us an extra juicer they had about a year ago...yes we have borrowed it for a very long time.  We use it all the time though.  I make fresh juice for Sam and for the little boys.  The little boys love carrot, kale, spinach, and apple juice.  And as a mom, I feel pretty darn good when I make this for them.

First I wash my ingredients and for this juice, which we shall call "Glow-bug Juice" I combined:


Then you cut the fruit so that it will fit in the juicer.

Doesn't that look delicious!  Mmmmm, I could eat all that right now.

Put it into your juicer.

And, Wah-la!  Juice!  Delicious juice that you made!

This is the pulp that gets left over.  I hear that you can use it to make carrot bread or carrot cake with.  Interesting concept; I have never tried it.  I do know that a good juicer will leave you with a dry pulp.  A bad juicer will not extract all the if you are thinking about getting a juicer, get a good one.  And look at all the pineapple I had left!  You can make a lot of juice with one pineapple.

Pineapple is very affordable right now.  You can get a whole pineapple for around $2.50.  Sa-weet deal!  Peaches are in the markets right now too.  I am really digging peaches and Greek yogurt with a few blueberries {heavenly}.

If you read this could you say a little prayer for me?  I have a big file that I have to work on in the morning.  Please pray that God will allow me to see everything I need to see, and fix everything I need to fix.  That every person involved will be ready and willing to help and that the loan will get closed, everything in order, and right on time.  Thank you!

I am going to need it!

Here is a picture of Carl at Youth group glowing to the music with light sticks...go Carl!

Have a wonderful Friday friends.  Go glow for God!



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Skinny Mini Greek Garden Soft Taco's

I saved a little old lady today.  Well I didn’t save her, but I ran to her rescue.  Delores, 90 years old, fell down outside the bank and broke her hip.  I prayed with her while fellow co-workers called for an ambulance.  Luckily the Ambulance was two blocks away and actually on their way to the bank to see me.  The responding EMT is my customer and he needed to come sign some papers.  She was in a lot of pain and I was very grateful that God prepared quick help for her.

I hope that Delores is OK.  I thought it was nice that my EMT customer and his co-workers all called her “Sweetie,” or “Darling.”  Like, “Does this hurt Sweetie?”  Or, “Darling, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain you have ever experienced, how would you rate your pain?”  Through her moans she got out a number…9.  Ouch!

She kept apologizing that we had to help her.  One of the EMT’s joked with her once they got her situated on the backboard that if she hadn’t of been so clumsy they would be at lunch already, she was able to laugh a little at this.

Pray for Delores and her family.  Our bank manager just went to the Hospital to visit her and Delores daughter confirmed that she broke her hip and was scheduled surgery for tomorrow morning.  So again, please pray…well, let’s pray right now:

Lord, thank you for Delores.  I pray that she has a relationship with you.  That is the most important thing I could ask for right now in this moment.  I pray that you will take her hip and mend it.  I pray that you take her pain and relieve it. I pray that you will bring comfort to her family, and wisdom to the doctors and nurses involved in her care.  I pray that they will treat her with respect and dignity.  In Jesus name, Amen.

I posted Brandon’s testimony yesterday about his trip to Africa, wasn’t that amazing?  I don’t dance very well; in fact, I am really, really bad at it.  I loved reading about how the Kenyan’s danced for the Lord.  King David danced before the Lord too.  I love it when I see my little boys dance.  They see me smile and they dance even more.  They clap their hands and shake their little booty’s.  Adorable!  Makes me wonder if God smiles at us and claps when we dance like I do for my little boys…maybe.

I’d probably make him spit out his heavenly coffee laughing at my dance moves.

I almost spit my coffee out the other day, all over my computer screen, when a friend from work sent me an email with a quote in it from My Big Fat Greek Wedding:

“Yes… Inside the lump was my twin.”

That movie is hilarious!  I am going to have to watch it again soon.  Maybe eat some Monkey Brains and watch MBFGW…any takers?

Ok, well, let me know!

Soooooo, I made another vegetarian dish.  I am telling you folks, it doesn’t have to have meat to be a meal.  I used to think this was the case.  I am now convinced otherwise.  I may never go back.  I think you will really like this too!  Especially if you are trying to eat healthy but not compromise taste.  Only problem with these are that you may be required to use some restraint.  But they are so healthy that you could eat a bunch of ‘em and you wouldn’t hurt yourself.

It was so easy, SO easy.  And it was so good, SO good!  Mmmmm, I would order this at a restaurant all day long.  But I don’t have to, because I invented it.  And because I invented it, I get to name it.  It shall be named: Skinny Mini Greek Garden Soft Taco’s

Yes, I think that should cover it.  Here is what you will need to serve 2 people….are you ready?

  1. 1 zucchini chopped
  2. 1 yellow squash chopped
  3. 1 carrot sliced diagonally
  4. 12 pickled asparagus spears (I forgot to take a picture of this, oops!)
  5. ¼ cup feta (hence the Greek in the name)
  6. 1/2 block firm tofu
  7. 4 low carb soft taco tortilla (this is just what I used)
  8. Salt to taste
Ha, and that is it!  My mouth told me I was a genius.  In the words of my father, “If I wasn’t already taken, I would marry myself!” –Ron SalleĆ©.  He says this when he creates culinary genius; so he says this a lot! (Have you noticed how everyone is putting quotes on Facebook?)

In a skillet combined your zucchini, squash, and carrots with about ½ cup water and cook on medium heat until veggies are hot and kind of steamy.  When they are done, drain and transfer them to a bowl.  Place your tofu in the skillet and cube with the edge of your spatula and brown them with a pinch of salt.  When your cubes are browned on multiple sides place in bowl with veggies.

Take your flour tortilla and sprinkle with about ¼ of your 1/4th cup feta and place 4 asparagus spears in the center.  Let it heat up a little bit in your skillet.

Just so the tortilla is heated through and the cheese is slightly warmed.  Should take about 2 minutes.  Top with ¼ of your veggie mixture and pinch shut with a clothes pin (adorable and very functional…I love these things).

I ate two, and they were amazing.  I even said out loud, “Seriously! These are amazing!”  I was amazed because it was so easy, and so quick, and SOOOOOOOOO good.  The saltiness of the feta and pickled asparagus balanced perfectly with the sweetness of the zucchini, squash, and carrots.  It was juicy and so flavorful.  I will make this, and eat this regularly from this day forward.  It is a new favorite.

Here is what I used:

Zucchini and Yellow Squash and Organic Carrots

Organic Extra Firm Tofu

Delicious Feta, YUM!

Low Carb (they taste really good!) Tortillas

I also used Pickled Asparagus, but I forgot to take their picture.  Sorry.  I hope you make this.  You can't let time be an excuse because it takes like 2.5 seconds.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kenya Testimony~ By Brandon Roche

Before I begin, I have to say, there is nothing you can read, watch, or hear about that really does what I experienced justice. I believe in order to really understand another culture and how God is working in that culture, one has to actually experience it firsthand. In the span of two short weeks, I have made some lifelong friends and glimpsed a small piece of an amazing culture and people that are hungry for God.
Our team consisted of 12 people, 7 students and our leader and his family, a wife and 3 young children.

Our leader’s name is Severin Lwali. He was born and raised in Kenya, specifically, the village we were going to. He was our guide at times and translator at other times. Without him, the trip would have been next to impossible. We left for Kenya on the 24th of June and arrived in Nairobi on the 26th at 4:30 in the morning. Two hours later, we woke up for a college-targeted church service called Frontrunnerz. Severin was speaking that day so we had to arrive a bit early. The service was held in a tent, with a few rows of wooden pews and hundreds of white lawn chairs filled the makeshift sanctuary.
Before we even had a chance to take in our surroundings, people were greeting us and making us feel more welcome then any church I’ve been to in America. The praise and worship started so we all took our seats and I watched in amazement as the 20 or so people in the room worshipped God with the most sincerity I’d ever seen. After the first service was over, a few of the women brought us to another smaller tent on the side and gave us tea and a pastry that resembled a doughnut without the glaze. Then the second service started and before we knew it, about 300 young adults crammed into the tent. During praise and worship the tent exploded with hundreds of voices, and not only that, but everyone was dancing. The praise and worship team did a few songs in Swahili that had a kind of reggae beat to them; this is when we saw the true Kenyans come out. Every single one of them has this rhythm engrained into them and can dance like no American ever could, or at least no American on our team. A few of us tried to dance along but to no avail. After church we met the 4 interns that would be accompanying us to the village. They were interning for an organization called the Journey, a college ministry on campuses all around Kenya. Ken, Joey, Grace, and Gracie were complete strangers that day, and by the end of the week became very close friends. I think overall, the Frontrunnerz service was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The rest of the afternoon consisted of catching up on sleep and a meeting concerning the rest of the week.
The next morning we woke up around 7, ate breakfast, and began our long journey to the district of Busia, where the village Butula was located. This was the village where Hekima Academy was located; the school Severin’s mother and father started and now preside over. This was the school we would be working at all week. The drive took almost 12 hours even though it was only about 300 miles to the village. That gives you an idea of how bad the roads are. When we arrived in the village that night, around nine, we ate dinner and crashed, tired from the long journey. The next morning we ate breakfast and discussed plans for the week. Starting on Wednesday, we would begin our VBS we were putting on for the children of the school. The age of the children we were teaching ranged from 3 to 14, so we had to be very versatile in our teaching. The theme of the VBS was 1 Timothy 4:12, “Do not let anyone look down upon you because you are young, but set an example to the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” This was a great theme for these kids because the children in Kenyan culture are to be seen and not heard. But to teach them that even at a young age they can be an example to their peers and relatives was a whole new concept for them. We started off the morning at something called assembly, a meeting of all the kids in the school every morning. The teachers were very gracious and allowed us to completely take over and talk to the children. Severin introduced us to the teachers and children, which was followed by very intrigued looks at the white people. This was another favorite part of mine. I was able to bring my guitar and we were able to teach the children a song. We taught them I Could Sing of Your Love Forever with a faster, more upbeat rhythm to it. We made it faster so the children could dance, and dance they did. One of the interns, Gracie, loves to dance and came up with a few moves simple enough for the children, and us, to learn. It was amazing! Seeing them dance and sing along was just incredible.

We began the VBS by talking about Josiah and how he was only 8 years old when he became king. And that he was a great example for his people because he was constantly following after God’s heart, even though kings before him did not. The first lesson was very hard for me because I am used to speaking so fast. Without those interns there helping us, I would have never been able to communicate anything to them! They were a huge blessing. While some were teaching the lessons, others from our team lead a game that related to the story, or did arts and crafts with the children. After the lessons, we ate lunch and talked about the day, what things could we improve on, and overall, how the lessons went. In the afternoon we went back to the school and played all sorts of game with the children, we taught the children games like 500 and monkey in the middle, and they taught us some of their games. Ken and I were responsible for playing soccer with the younger children, ages 6-9. That was a blast! It eventually turned into a herd of children chasing a ball, but it was fun nonetheless. The rest of the week proceeded the same way, VBS, lunch, meeting, and then games until the children had to leave.

On Friday, however, we were privileged to accompany the kids and teachers to an awards assembly for all the schools in the district. There were about 65 schools represented at the assembly and Hekima Academy was ranked number one in the entire district! This was incredible for the small private school. A group of Americans with the kids was also great PR for the school.  On Saturday we hosted something like a carnival for the children and their parents. We had carnival games and tons of candy to give away. We also had relay races and tug-of-war we could play with the kids, teachers, and parents. After the fun and games, we all sat down as Severin gave the message of salvation to the kids and parents.
That evening we were given a goat to slaughter and eat, and that’s exactly what we did. One of our team members, John, cut its head off, while others were responsible for stringing out its intestines, which are considered a delicacy. That night we shared roasted goat, which was delicious, with the teachers of the school. They thoroughly enjoyed but unfortunately we had to say our goodbyes. I loved hanging out with the teachers because they were just as curious as the students, but could grasp the answers we gave them a bit better than the students. It was very sad leaving the next morning, as some of the students waved goodbye.
From there, we went to Lake Nakuru to go on a safari. That was the tourist section of our trip.

We stayed the night at a lodge called flamingo hill and woke up early the next morning to go see the wildlife. It was incredible!  When we got back to the lodge we ate breakfast and left for Nairobi again. The rest of the week was supposed to be filled with outreaches in the city alongside more of the Journey members, but unfortunately this didn’t work out. Brent, one of our connections to the Journey ended up being in the U.S. at the time we were in Kenya, and because of that, a lot of our plans fell through. We attended a few Journey hosted events to Kenyatta University but the rest of the week was filled with mostly learning more of the Kenyan culture.
Overall, the trip was an amazing experience that, like I said, I can’t do justice by typing up this testimony. God did amazing things to and through us while we were there. Going to a country where people have very little is eye opening and heart breaking at times. However, one thing I noticed from each Kenyan was the amount of hospitality they gave us. For instance, when we were in Butula, we stayed in Severins’ parent’s house. They gave us literally all they had and more while we were there. They didn’t even stay in the house, they gave it to us and they stayed in a neighboring building on their land. When we were in Nairobi we went to Journey leader’s apartment for a few minutes. The living room was about 12 by 12 feet maybe, but instead of saying he didn’t have enough room for the 12 of us, he welcomed us in and fed us. I think the big theme here is the amount of community and family that Kenyans have as opposed to Americans. If we have guests, we give what we want to give, but in Kenya we were greeted with everything they had.
God is doing great things in Kenya and from this experience, I hope to begin to travel the rest of the world and experience God in other cultures.
Brandon Roche, Joplin, Missouri
~Note from Ronda
My heart is busting at the seams right now!  It makes me so happy and so sad all at the same time because in America we are so disconnected from the rest of the world.  I can picture the freedom and see these people dancing and singing before the Lord and he is clapping his hands and stomping his feet to the music (in my mind).  What JOY!
When are the Kenyan’s going to do a missions trip to Joplin, because I want to go to that revival!
What you have shared Brandon has lit a fire in my heart.  There is a lot of work to be done in this place.  Thank you so much for sharing.  I am tremendously grateful for you.  You welcomed Sam and I with love and hospitality from the moment that we met you.  You treated us like we were best buds and I think that it is a gift God has given you.  You are one of the friendliest, most out-going, sincere individuals I have ever met.
I can’t wait to see what all God has in-store for your life.  He is going to do great things through you, and you are going to do great things through Christ.
Lord bless you brother!
Your friend and sister in Christ,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wrap it up

I was bubbling with anticipation as I input each person’s name into a random picker for those of you who shared your favorite Peanut Butter method of indulgence.  I clicked the “get results” button; it was like Christmas!  My first Give-a-way!  And the lucky recipient is…dun dad a dun: Marie Fissouri!
Congratulations Marie!  I am very excited to send you some Naturally More Peanut Butter…because it is naturally awesome.  And so are you.
So now you can eat it by the “heaping tablespoon," your favorite way.
Today was a very busy day at work.  I didn’t seem to stop moving.  I rode my bike to work; my first time ever doing this.  And guess what?  I loved it!  I think I will do it more often.
I arrived to some very unhappy people (not awesome).  So I kindly worked to gently defuse their anger.  They were very nice people I could tell, but they were at the poor end of a sour appraisal on their home that they were selling.  This created a domino effect, and one contingent sale after another began to dissolve.
I could understand their frustration.  One thing I thought was a little strange is that they brought their Bible with them.  Maybe they thought they would read it if they had to wait.  Maybe it was something to bring them comfort.  Maybe they thought it would protect them from the ‘evil bankers’.  Or maybe they thought if all else failed they could thump me with it. I don’t know, but after I finally got them calmed down I asked if it would be ok if we said a quick prayer about it.  You could see the relief in his wife’s face when I asked this, but I could also see that he hesitated.  He wanted to stay upset.  But he said, “sure, ok."
So I said a very quick little prayer and they softened up a bit before they left my office.  I don't normally do this, but in Joplin it didn't feel that out of the ordinary.
That was the beginning half of my day.  Then it was a whirlwind of files, investors, realtors, title companies, customers, rate locks, lock expirations, disclosures, highlighting, filing, phone answering, call logging…it seemed never ending.  This day went by so fast I feel dizzy!
So yesterday I alluded to the fact that I found a healthy dinner that I could eat every day and every meal…I ate it again tonight, and I loved it all over again.  It is so quick, so easy, so delicious, and so healthy…what more could you ask for?  Oh yes, and it is cheap!  Now what more could you ask for?
You can use a flour tortilla, I made mine with Lavash Bread.  I buy this flat-bread made with flaxseed at Walmart over by the deli.  Each flat-bread wrap is only 100 calories which compared to your typical tortilla is a real bargain!  It is loaded with healthy ingredients and is perfect for cramming with delicious fillings.
I am calling this big beauty Ronda’s Veggilicious Veggie Wrap.  The recipe below is for a single serving…and it is very filling so you will only need one if cooking for just yourself.
1 ½ cups Asian stir fry
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
¼ cup water
1 Lavash flatbread or Tortilla
2 tablespoons light sour cream

Lavash Bread = good with everything.

Stir Fry, yes please!

See, I put clothes-pins on everything!

In a frying pan on medium-high heat place your frozen stir fry, taco seasoning, and water and heat until hot through.  Drain any excess water and spoon veggies onto flat bread.  Top with sour cream and roll up.  And that’s a wrap folks!  See I told you it was ridiculously easy!

Mmmm, I am going to eat that! 
I don’t think the pictures do it justice.  It was perfect…just perfect.  My taste buds are still talking about it.  They are gabby little guys.  And those are veggie chips...they should come with a warning label.  They are highly addictive.
Have a wonderful evening!  Enjoy your peanut butter Marie!!!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peanut Butter Giveaway

I stumbled upon these pictures and had a good laugh.  That's me in the boots and little Paul...who is now 6'4.  There's mom in the background.

The neighbor girl and me, rockin' big wigs.  Oh yea!

Sam and Ceth, ruling the road Big Wheel style.  Doesn't that look like Kael and Caleb?  I sure think so.

Sam and his dad.  Wow, makes me realize how much Ceth, Sam's brother, looks like Garth.
I take oodles of pictures of our boys.  They are pretty used to me with a camera and rarely give me much reaction.  Caleb is the one out of my two that will ham it up on occasion.  I like hammy.  Kael is a little more serious and often looks past me or gives me a look that would say, ‘not again mom.’

Here is Kael filling Daddy's shoes...

Well trying to at least...Sam wears a size 14 shoe so Kael has a little bit of room to grow.

Here are the boys with one of our many new friends Mr. Hopper.  These mammoth grasshoppers are everywhere!
I made the most amazing dinner tonight for myself because Sam was eating at the church with some of our new volunteer friends.  We love our volunteers and there are a few young adult volunteers that we have grown especially fond of.  Sad that they will be leaving on Wednesday, but hopeful they will come back to visit again.  I am sure they will.
I will share with you about my amazing dinner tomorrow night because I devoured it.  It had no hope of getting its picture taken.  I was too hungry, and it was too delicious smelling, and then it was delicious tasting…I sat there thinking, “I could eat this everyday for every meal.”  It is healthy and it is tasty!
I know…you are in such suspense right now.  Going to have to keep you there for 24 hours, until I can make more; I don’t want to ruin the surprise.
I did want to share with you about my favorite peanut butter.  You may be thinking, ‘seriously Ronda, peanut butter…that’s the best you could come up with?’  Wrong.  It is because I love you, and this peanut butter that I am sharing it with you today.  It is chocked full of good stuff.  And it has a wonderful sweet taste and texture.  When I found it I had to share it and I sent my folks some in Washington.  And guess what, they love it too.

Here is what I love about "Naturally More":
1.       It is full of ‘GOOD FOR YOU’ ingredients and is all natural
2.       It is de-lish-ous!
3.       It only costs $2.88 at Walmart (and yes they carry it in Washington Walmart’s too)
4.       It has OMEGA-3 Fatty Acids (good for your brain)
5.       It does not contain hydrogenated oils, no trans fats, and contains no cholesterol.

I do not get any incentive for suggesting this delicious peanut butter to you, just the foreknowledge that you might buy and enjoy it as much as we do is enough incentive.  It's ingredients are: Dry roasted peanuts, flax seed, wheat germ, sugar, honey, egg white.
Leave me a comment either on facebook or the blog as to your favorite thing to eat that involves peanut butter and I will randomly pick someone to send a jar to.
My favorite…oh man, so many!  So hard to pick…um, a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich, that would be tops for me.  But that also equals a ridiculous quantity of calories so I only eat this when I am pregnant, or breast feeding.  That way I can justify the splurge.
I have wanted to make my friend Manuel’s European Sweet Bread, but have been unable to locate all the ingredients.  Who knew Anise would be such a hard item to find!  I have looked at two stores with no luck.  Joplin doesn’t have many more stores.  I will keep my eye out and as soon as I find some I am making a batch.  I have heard it is amazing!
You may have also noticed that I have a new look for the ole blog.  Hope you like it.  I sure do!
Lifting you up in prayer! Don't forget to comment about your favorite thing to eat peanut butter with/on.  Hopefully there will be more than two of you who do...or else I will have to flip a coin.  That could be fun too I guess.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Monkey Brains

When I was in junior high our youth pastors were Chris and Tammy Immer.  I cherish my memories with them and I can remember spending lazy summer days with Tammy at their house 'down by the river' (SNL skit, made me laugh); a group of us girls would watch movies, "chick flicks", and we would play Wheel of Fortune on Super NES, and we would devour Monkey Brains.

Them were the days.

I think I need to start making this a little tradition for some of my youth gals out here.  I love having tea parties, and hang outs, and bread bakin' days.  Sam and I have our eye on a house and we will see if it comes to be.  If it does, Monkey Brain devouring memories are going to be made there.

And if it doesn't, that's ok, you can eat Monkey Brains anywhere.  And they are delicious.  I am sure that you have heard of this referred to as "Monkey Bread," but Monkey Brains is so much more fun to say!  Especially when you bake them in cupcake tins so that they are smaller and perfect for individual desserts.

I jazzed mine up a bit and added apples to the sauce and also threw in some mixed nuts and dried fruit.  So this is Monkey Brains, grownup style.

Ooooey gooooey cinnamon Monkey Brain goodness!  This is a delicious treat  See that pecan right there? I want to eat it right out of the picture.  Mmmm, pecans smothered in cinnamon caramel sauce.

Maybe you should make some, and invite some friends over to enjoy it with you.  Monkey Brains = Awesome Memories

Monkey Brains for 6
1, 12-16 ounce can of biscuits
1/4 cup mixed nuts and dried fruit, coarse chop
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 granny smith apple, washed, pealed, cored and cut into nickle size chunks

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut biscuits into chunks and throw them in a bag with your cinnamon and sugar and shake to cover.  Drop into greased muffin/cupcake tin and sprinkle with chopped nut mixture.

In a saucepan heat your butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and apple.  Heat to boiling and cook for 1 minute.

Pour over each cup.  I Like to make a little extra sauce to hold back and drizzle over the top after they are on the plate.  It is delicious.

Turn oven temp down to 350 and bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes, they will be very HOT. Spoon onto a plate, should hold together nicely.  You can serve it just like it is, with ice cream, with sauce; be creative, and have FUN.  This is fun to make with kids too if they can work a pair of scissors...mine are not ready for scissors.