Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lemon Earl Grey Ice Cream

Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease I have had to stay away from most ice creams. Those hidden and suspicious form of gluten are nasty and just not worth it. Earlier this summer I purchased an ice cream attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and have been experimenting with my own raw milk or coconut milk ice creams.

Today I decided to try a recipe that has been floating around Pinterest. Earl Grey ice cream. Yum! I love Earl Grey tea and I love ice cream so this was a beautiful prospect.

Here is the recipe I based mine on.

Lemon Earl Grey Ice Cream
1 Cup whole milk
2 Cups heavy cream
3/4 Cup sugar (I used raw turbinado but honey, maple syrup, or white sugar would work fine too)
6-8 bags of Earl Grey tea (depending how strong you like your tea. I used 6 but will try more next time)
5 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 cup lemon syrup (recipe following)

In a medium saucepan heat milk, cream, and sugar on medium heat. Stir frequently. When milk is steaming and sugar is dissolved add tea bags, cover, and turn off heat. Steep tea for 20 minutes.  Remove tea bags and return milk to heat.

Whip egg yolk and vanilla together in medium mixing bowl. 

When milk is steaming again add milk to egg yolk in a slow stream, stirring constantly. Add lemon syrup and return mixture to saucepan cooking until thick, coating the back of a spoon. Do not boil.

Let the custard cool completely (6-8 hours) I only cooled mine for 2 hours and it was a near catastrophe! I had to put my frozen ice cream bowl in another bowl of ice to keep it cool enough!

Following your ice cream maker instructions and enjoy!

I have seen this ice cream (minus the lemon) paired with lemon curd or lemon cake. You can also use the base for other tea combinations. I am excited to experiment.

Lemon Syrup
3/4 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Zest of 3 lemons
2 cups water
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

In a small saucepan heat zest, water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon juice and mix. Strain sauce through a fine sieve into a mason jar and cool. It's that easy!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Precious...

As if it was not crazy enough that suddenly we were on the hunt for a new ministry and a new start, the trails have not ended. Illness, after illness...sinus infections and vomiting, poison ivy and hives. Places to be and people to see (because I feel guilty that I have to take the kids away from their friends so I can't say no to a play date) until a day comes when there is nothing planned and all I can do is sit in the house, just sitting...which is the only thing to do because it has been so crazy hot and humid here that it is just torture to go outside.

The internal turmoil has been extreme while I run from here to there without time to breathe or during the long days of sitting in the house with sick kids and a naughty puppy who just wishes he could go out and play (too hot for him too). I have been fighting the urge to retreat into my head over the last few weeks. To dream of a different time in my life or even a different life that is far less stressful and much more simple and offers satisfaction and fulfillment without pain and sacrifice. It has been a struggle but I have been fighting. The battle came to a peak today.

Tommy sent his resume to a church in Warrenton, OR. I am sure that to most of you that does not mean anything but to me it was the temptation to take my desires for the future and make them my hope. To me it means childhood dreams coming true. It means family reunions and a steady stream of visitors. It means my little precious daydreams, may actually become reality. At least that is the lie I am tempted to cling to because of Warrenton, OR.

Warrenton is a small community on the Oregon coast, just north of where I spent summer days digging in the sand, jumping in the frigid waves, riding bikes, hiking trails, reading Archie comics, playing in tide pools and picking buckets full of blackberries. It is close enough for family, all my family, to visit in a days drive or less. The church is less then a mile from the ocean and a house with beach access is not out of the question in that town.

I have been obsessing since I heard about it. Distracted. Planning and hoping. Exercising my own sovereignty over my life and planning and scheming in my head. I have had trouble sleeping because of it. Why? I am putting my hope in Warrenton, OR and not in Christ. I have refused to pray about the whole thing because I know if I pray about it then I will have to surrender my desire, my precious, to Christs will for me and I just don't want to give up this dream. I have been ignoring his prodding to trust Him, to surrender to Him. I have been pushing away the guilt about not being interested in the people of the community, just the houses. It has been miserable.

So this afternoon while trying to take a nap with another sick child, I tearfully gave in. With the words of Psalm 55 simmering in my heart and mind, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved" and Psalm 37 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Trusting the goodness of God as told in Jeremiah 29, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." I confessed my desires, my dreams, my fears, and the lies I was believing and slept.

It was short sleep. Kids coughing and little video games beeping away came floating down the stairs but the peace of God that comes from presenting my requests to God has taken over the fear and anxiety that the future will be too much for me to handle because of how disappointing it is. The cause for anxiety, that He is not good and so what He brings in the future will not be good, has been addressed (for now) and I am confident that the satisfaction in Christ, is enough and His goodness in carrying out His plan for my future will continue to bring Him glory in my life as I face it...trusting and hoping in Him (not my precious!)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Plot twist

I recently saw this on Pinterest. 

This could be handy for stress.
So here I go: "PLOT TWIST!"

At least that is how I feel. I know that God's Word says...
  •  Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
  • Proverbs 16:09 -  The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
  •  Romans 8:28-29 - 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
  • Psalm 121:3, 7-8 -  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.; The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in, from this time forth and forevermore.
therefore, I know that my feelings are deceiving me because nothing in my life has gone wrong. It sure feels like a major plot twist and from my perspective here on the ground, it is a plot twist, but from God's sovereign perspective this is what is happening next. The next step in being "conformed to the image of his Son."

Our sojourn in Roanoke, Virginia is coming to an end. We came knowing that this was a temporary situation. I hoped that it would be different and we were able to stay a year longer then originally expected but now we must move on. 

I am sad. This goes without saying. Ministry is relationships and we have made some of the best relationships here. I have enjoyed so many things about living in Roanoke as well. Aside from the humidity, distance from family, and the lack of ability by drivers here to merge onto the highway this has been my favorite place to live. 

I am anxious. There is time to discover what God has next for us but we are still waiting for God to reveal it and there is a lot that needs to happen before we get from here to there. I have never been very good at being patient and I have made minimal improvement as God has grown me. The announcement was made on Sunday June 23 and Tommy left the next day for youth missions camp...all week! I have spent the time since that Sunday trying to keep busy, distracting myself with projects and baking trying not to gain too much weight and trying not to lock myself in the bathroom just to get away from the kids. 

I am tired. Grief and waiting is so tiring. Especially when you are a family of seven trying to figure out what you are feeling and how to handle it. There have been lots of headaches and early nights, praying for the strength and faith to get through this in a way that honors God!

I am excited. God is working and moving and taking us somewhere good. He has a plan and He is working that plan out and that is a good thing. One of the most encouraging things that has been said to me lately was, "somewhere there is someone, a church, praying for you...praying that God would send you." What a great thought! 

I am thankful. God is so good in His sovereignty. The verses that we have been memorizing with the kids these past few weeks are Philippians 4:6-7 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." It has been a great whenever someone asks how I am and my answer is "anxious" to have these verses remind me what to do with that anxiousness. I have been in constant prayer because of it. 

 I will keep you updated when there is anything to report. Tommy has sent in his application/resume to 8 different churches in Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, and BC. Please pray with us that we would be encouraged to persevere as we are still here, patient as we wait for what is to come, and that we would glorify Him through the process. 


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jesus is with me...

I am so grateful for Gloria's writing and her solid theology and application to life and motherhood. This was exactly what I needed to hear (again) today. I hope you are encouraged as well.

Jesus Is with Me to the End of the Age

 (and the Week’s Ironing)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Catch Up!

Tekoa getting royal treatment
More sick children and an injured dog who had to be taken to the vet has caused me to get a bit behind. Providentially there has not been anything particularly exciting in our menu for the last three days.


  • Nitrate free sausage patties
  • Green smoothie - frozen banana, lots of kale, 2 TB flaxseed, frozen strawberries, coconut water and ice
Lunch -
  • Thursday lunches are always Mac and Cheese. I use Annie's Gluten free Mac and Cheese for the kids and Road's End dairy free for Betsy
  • Frozen veggies
  • Apple slices
Dinner - 
  •  Thursday is family night and we often go out to eat. Ihop was have 2 free kids meal for every adult meal so we headed in that direction. They are very accommodating to gluten free needs BUT it is still torture to look at all those pancakes, breads, toast and other wheat filled items!
Kids at Ihop
  • Cereal morning for the kids!
  • I take this opportunity to eat something I like...a green smoothie or eggs with things like broccoli or asparagus or other non-traditional breakfast items that were leftover earlier in the week.
  • Nachos! Corn chips, gluten free nacho cheese from Sam's Club, tomato, olives, lettuce...whatever else we could find in the fridge!
  • Date night! We went to Applebee's, not my favorite for gluten free items. I prefer Carrabba's  as they make their food to order and therefore the options are greater, but the Fiesta Chicken Salad was tasty!
  • Apple and pear slices and peanut butter
  • Gluten free muffins from a friend who used black beans instead of flour!
  • Betsy couldn't eat the muffins so she had half an avocado instead
  • Open face peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Salad
  • Blueberries
  • BBQ ribs...not very good. :( It was my first run at cooking ribs on our grill and though the marinade was good (I used a tamari sauce which is gluten free soy) the meat was not cooked well. It will be better next time. 
  • Cauliflower "potato" salad. I used this recipe and it turned out VERY well. I didn't have dill and am not a fan anyways so I substituted fresh basil that I had picked up at the farmer's market that morning. 
  • Steamed green beans from the garden. I steam them first and then fry them up with a little bacon grease. So good!

There you go. A weeks worth of gluten free eating. I am hoping to be adding more recipes as I go. I didn't add the bread recipe yet as I am not satisfied with it. Still needs more tweaking. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fishy Wednesday

Today turned out to be a fish filled day. I try to keep variety in our day but it doesn't always happen.

  • Yogurt (homemade from raw milk) Once I learned how quick and easy it is to make yogurt I started making my own every Tuesday! This is how I started and have adjusted to meet our families tools and needs as I go along. For example, I use a double boiler I have that is also a bowl, so I don't dirty more dishes. When I am finished heating the milk I pour the hot water into a cooler and close the lid to let the whole unit heat up...this is where I put the yogurt to grow all day! It is so yummy!
  • Granola - I use gluten free oats and honey, coconut oil, spices and seeds. My kids don't like all the extra stuff in their granola so I sneak in the sunflower seeds but leave any dried fruit out.
  • Tuna Fish - I always add things to make it more healthy and interesting. Add a Fuji apple chopped small, craisins, seeds, celery, and spinach. You can stuff it in a pepper or avocado or just eat it plain.
  • Gluten Free Multi-grain Crackers
  • Broccoli
  • Sugar Snap Peas
Dinner- It may have been 90+ outside but we wanted to keep it cool inside so we cooked on the grill to keep the heat out.
  • Grilled Cod - 1 bottle GF beer (we use Redbridge since it tastes good and is the most affordable of the GF beers) 2 TB sorghum flour, dill, lemon grass, chives, salt, pepper, lemon. Combine all the ingredients then pour over the fish, let them soak or put directly on grill.
  • Grilled Asparagus - oiled with salt and pepper
  • Grilled Sweet Potatoes - sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, orange zest
  • As I was zesting the orange I had an idea - the orange juice and any extra zest, 2 TB coconut oil, 1 tsp honey, cinnamon, ginger, 1 tsp cider vinegar all went into a small sauce pan and I boiled it down to a thick sticky sauce. Poured over the sweet potato was a great idea!
  • Red leaf lettuce and leftover dressing
I tried taking photos of the kids downing their fish but it just didn't turn out right. We'll try again tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gluten Free Tuesday

Breakfast on Tuesdays is a favorite for the kids. We have oatmeal! It is not just any oatmeal is MY oatmeal. Thick and creamy with healthy additives that start our morning out great.

Helen's Oatmeal
3 cups Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Oats
1 Can Full-fat Coconut milk
1 egg
Toppings: Maple syrup, butter, raw seeds and nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, craisins, dried apricots

Pour the can of coconut milk into a large bowl (I use the large Pampered Chef batter bowl since it also doubles as a large measuring cup) and add the egg. Fill bowl with water until you have reached six cups of liquid. Beat with a whisk, making sure to blend the milk, egg and water well.

Pour liquid into a medium sized pot and heat just to boil. Add three cups of oats and cook to desired consistency.

Serve and top with your favorite toppings!

  • Oatmeal
  • Coffee 
  • Water
Lunch- Tuesday is park day with families from our church so we picnic lunch at the park. Picnicking gluten-free is much more family style, finger food dining then a sandwich and chips. It is more a bite of that and a handful of this. Here is what I packed:
  •  String cheese (and dairy free cheese for Betsy)
  • Gluten-free fruit snacks (I have pinned a few natural fruit snack recipes that I am looking forward to trying in the near future)
  • GF Pepperoni
  • Taquitos
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Frozen veggies
  • Pistachios
  • Water
  • Tea/Lemonade or Juice
For snack we have begun an adventure in popsicle making. I have been buying Luigi's Italian Ice from Sam's for awhile and have really wanted to find a healthier way to treat the kids this summer so I bought a popsicle mold and started with Nutella Popsicles and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip for Betsy. Super easy blend 1/3 cup Nutella and 1 2/3 cup milk and pour into mold and freeze. They were so yummy. Betsy's pops were easy too! 1/4 Peanut Butter (all natural of course only peanuts and salt listed in the ingredients), 1 TB Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and 1 cup almond milk blended and frozen. I tasted both...they were great!

  • Chicken, Bacon and Apple Salad (with spinach/lettuce mix from the garden, a Fuji apple, celery, bell pepper, chicken from Polyface farm, and nitrate free bacon)
  • Dressing for salad - I blended 2/3 cup Raw cider vinegar, 1 1/3 cup light olive oil, 1 TB mustard, fresh parsley, 4 cloves garlic, 1/4 onion, salt and pepper)
  • Cheese and Gluten-free crackers (we found these at Sam's club and love them!)
Our garden is quickly being depleted of it's leafy greens as the temperatures

keep increasing...92 tomorrow. I will be so sad when we can't just go outside and grab what we need. Must remember to start earlier next year and plant more!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Monday Meals

Mondays are a little different for our family. Sundays are not very restful with meetings and services and practices so we take our time getting up in the mornings on Monday. I often make muffins or some other baked goods. Then we run errands or work around the house. Yesterday I made donuts for the first time. They were delicious but still need some work. I can't wait to share the recipe with you but it may take a couple tries and tests before it is ready to share.
  • Donuts
  • Eggs (pastured, from the Farmer's Market) and Spinach (from the garden)
  • Coffee (with my syrup and cream)
  • Water
  • Sliced Ham (Hormel, gluten free, nitrate free)
  • Cheese sticks
  • Salad - pears, oranges, arugula (garden), gourmet mix greens (garden)
  • Dressing - Bragg's Cider Vinegar, Light Olive Oil, fresh parsley, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Water
  • Sugar Free Lemonade and Ice Tea mix
  • Spaghetti - We don't have this often because of the high carbohydrate content. For noodles I use Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta. It is a combination of corn flour and quinoa flour. For sauce I use Classico Tomato and Basil sauce from Sam's Club. I can never follow a recipe exactly and the same goes for sauces so I always add fresh garlic to my meat and basil, parsley or oregano to the sauce...anything to make it more original.
  •  Rainbow Chard - sliced thin and sauteed in coconut oil with garlic, onion and lemon juice. Have to admit that this was not a hit with the kiddos BUT they ate it...since they couldn't have the next item until they were done with the chard. ;)
  • Yogurt and strawberries - homemade raw milk yogurt and strawberry sauce from our garden strawberries.
  • Cucumber Tomato salad - a few days ago I chopped up a cucumber and tomato from the Farmer's Market and let it sit in the parsley dressing I had made. We finished it off tonight.
  • Water
After dinner I took the kids and the dog up to the church parking lot and walked for two miles. It is great that once around the lot is a quarter mile. I plugged in my music and started walking while the kids played and ran around!

Full disclosure: I am fighting anxiety and when I feel extremely emotional...I eat. Good news? Let's celebrate with food! Bad news? Let's comfort with food! Worried? Food! That being said Sunday night I did indulge in a small Butterfinger Blizzard from Dairy Queen and Monday night I had met with my small group at a local coffee shop.

  • Coffee (stevia and half and half)
  • Gluten Free Peanut-Butter Chocolate Bar

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weather, Celiac, and a Recipe

I am not surprised that the day after I decide to start writing again, life takes over. We had two days of solid rain and by that I mean non-stop down pour. The kids were going nuts and finding a quiet moment was out of the question. Next began a little stomach bug for the baby girls, a busy weekend and here we are Monday already...of course I am dealing with with a great deal of anxiety and instead of talking to all of you about it (yet) perhaps I am subconsciously avoiding. It is my preferred method of dealing with conflict in my life.

Instead of digging deep into some tough stuff I'll keep busy with a new obsession in my life: food. I mentioned earlier that this past October I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. A quick working definition of this disease is, an auto-immune disorder where the body attacks gluten as an antigen leading to a myriad of symptoms and blocking the proper absorption and digestion of needed nutrients. Not fun.

Since October I have learned so much about gluten and food and the food industry. Hidden forms of gluten are everywhere and labels have to constantly be read. Cross contamination is sometimes an issue and items that may be okay at home are not always okay when you go out (McDonald's french fries are cooked in oil that has gluten added to it!) Not so hidden forms of gluten are everywhere too and the most common question I get is: So what do you eat?

This week, I will share it all with you...good and bad (I am moving into a traditional food/nutrient dense diet but am certainly no where I want to be so somethings may look a little inconsistent). Whenever possible I will post recipes along with the menu and explanation for why we do things this way. For example, I have heard it said many times that going gluten free is so easy these days because it is popular. I agree, that does add benefits that were not around even 5 years ago however, we avoid starch as an ingredient to foods, especially baked foods, whenever possible. Starch is the ingredient that turns into sugar when eaten and is just bad for you.

So here we go with Sunday. To make life simpler we stick to the same general meals for breakfast and lunch on a weekly rotation. Meaning every Sunday we have nuts/seeds and fruit on Monday we have muffins or something baked, Tuesday is oatmeal etc.
  • Water
  • Coffee w/ cream off the top of our raw milk and Sugar-free, Gluten-free hazelnut syrup...yes, one of those ingredients that I know I need to get rid of but just can't yet)
  • Raw seeds and nuts: whatever is on hand, pistachios, almonds, sunflower, pepitas
  • Fruit: local organic cherries from the Farmer's Market
  • Wendy's (yes, we go out to fast food on Sunday's. It is one way for us to make Sunday a little more special for the kids as they get to eat a burger with a bun!)
  • I had the Baja salad without all the extra chips and dressings that they give you.
  • Water to drink
  • Pizza! This week we had taco pizza but usually it is supreme.
  • Water for me, and a sweet drink for the kids (soda or "hugs")

Gluten Free Pizza Crust 
2 Cups Almond Flour
4 TB Garbanzo Bean Flour (I found a great local company that sprouts their beans first)
4 TB Ground Flaxseed
1 Cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese (a binding agent)
1 tsp Onion Powder (real onion works too!)
2 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs (local pastured is best)
4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup water

Preheat oven to 350
Add all the ingredients except the water into your mixing bowl (I use my Kitchen-aid stand mixer) and thoroughly mix on low. Slowly add water until you reach the right peanut butter.
*One thing I have come to realize about baking gluten free is that the consistency of everything is different then it's gluten filled counterpart.
Line or liberally oil a 9X13 pan pour in your batter. Next spread the batter evenly with your hands, covering the bottom of the pan and creating a small ridge around the sides.
*I have found that oiled, disposable gloves work best but oiled hands work fine too.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Top as desired!

Our taco pizza was layered taco sauce, refried beans, ground beef, onion and then baked for another 15 minutes. Next we added cheese, lettuce, tomato, olives and guacamole. It was SO good.

Some of our other favorite toppings are bell pepper, spinach, basil, gluten free pepperoni, olives, onion...the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's New

It has been a while and life has been full.

To summarize the last eight months
  • we had a quiet fall
  • started piano lessons for Tobie
  •  Helen was diagnosed with Celiac Disease
  • birthdays
  • moved in a house guest
  • took an epic trip across the country and back
  • 11th Anniversary
  • welcomed a puppy into our house
  • moved out a house guest
  • prayed
  • wept
  • grew in grace
  • grew in knowledge of the Savior
As I have been reflecting on life and on my experimental blog year I have realized a few things about life and myself.

First, I love to write. I miss blogging. I miss putting my thoughts down into words and processing and sharing and encouraging others as I send those thoughts out into cyberspace. Part of my personal worship time is writing out a letter to God. Sometimes my prayers do not even feel real until I have set them down on paper. This is not to argue if that is right or wrong but to illustrate that God has made me to desire and require writing to process and organize my thoughts.

Second, I need a goal or project. I thrive on something to help keep me motivated to persevere. That may mean signing up, paying the registration fee and buying the running shoes to motivate me to exercise. It means deadlines, goals, and accountability. If there is no goal, there is a combination of guilt over failing my imaginary and unrealistic expectations and nothing getting done due to laziness or boredom.

Last, I realized a point. That may not make much sense so let me explain. The blog was a growing experience. It was a joy. It was also a stress on my family. It was a distraction. That does not mean it was not worth it but in looking ahead I need a point, a reason to continue that is valuable enough to be worth the time and effort. I am so passionate about so many things and then on a given day I am ambivalent to that interest. For example, I love to crochet. However a blog all about crocheting would not fit the criteria of being valuable enough because that interest is fluctuating. After the Christmas push I don't want to see crochet hooks again until fall. There is one thing I am passionate about that can and will continue even if the feelings fade and best of all, it allows me a chance to write about food and crafts and home school and the Bible and life and anything else the Lord would lay on my heart.

Gospel living.

Living life in light of eternity, of Christ's sacrifice, of God's sovereignty and the Holy Spirit's constant work. 

So what can you expect?
  • Meditations on Scripture
  • Music reviews
  • Recipes
  • Mothering anecdotes 
  • The "why" of what I do
  • Responses to current events
  • Anything else that seems to come to mind...
Here is to a new adventure. May God be glorified and we be edified.