Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just Around the River Bend

    While I was at college this last time I was in a Women's Health class and my last group project was to put together a booth at the women's health fair. My group members and I decided to title our booth: Recreation in God's Creation and did it all about the benefits of outdoor activities. It made me want to go do some of this stuff with my family so today we spent a day on the river.

    We rented two canoes and a kayak from a resort and rode in one of the resort vans nine miles up river where we began our trek. It was the perfect day for it: 80 degrees and cloudy. I didn't wear any sunscreen and didn't burn a bit.

    My Granny and Grandpa on my mother's side are here for two weeks. They shared a canoe and it was fun to splash them because we could count on them for a splash back. 
    Mom, Dad, Granny and Grandpa were the only ones who stayed in their same canoes the entire time. The rest of us had fun trying new positions in the canoe and we all took turns in the kayak.

    We all wore life jackets in the beginning, but the water was pretty shallow and the life jackets came off within the first two or thee miles -- except in my little brother's case who wore his the entire day. We also took most of our pictures early in the day because that's when we had our energy. By the end we were pretty excited to get back to our landing.

    Steering the canoes was a little bit of a problem for me. I realize now that I never really learned at High Adventure or Girls Camp. I always let my friends sit in the front and back -- because they often wanted to -- while I sat in the middle of the canoe and paddled on the side that they told me.
    In any case, this canoeing trip was a little bit like pinball with the nose of our canoe striking first this bank, then the other, then that group of tubers then that stranger's kayak -- it was actually embarrassing, but we got better by the end. 

    My sisters and I stopped for a breather at a sandbar and swam out to this submerged log. Mom was great and got a couple photos of us on it. I love being with my sisters because I can do crazy fun things and not be the craziest one :)

My little man was quite comfortable by himself in the kayak.

Granny & Grandpa -- We're so glad they were able to come along!

Me trying to maneuver the kayak

    It was long and my my upper right arm aches now, but it What A Fun Day! We want to do it again, only all of us get kayaks instead of canoes -- they're just easier to maneuver. I love recreation in God's creation. Go out with your family and try it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Curried Lentils Over Rice

    My mother served 18 months teaching the gospel in Japan when she was in her young twenties, so thanks to her we have a myriad of rice dishes that we all love and this is one of them. I remember not appreciating this dish when I was younger, but now it is a favorite of mine and I'm excited to share it with you.

    First, start your rice cooking in a nearby pot and then measure out 1 cup of lentils. Bring them to a boil on the stove in 1 cup of water, 1 quart of chicken/beef broth, two bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons salt. This softens and savors the lentils.

    Lentils are often glanced over when people shop because they don't know what to do with them. But lentils are extremely healthy. They are a full of so many good things like potassium, calcium, zinc, dietary fiber, lean protein, and iron. And they're not just healthy, they're tasty too. Don't give up on lentils just yet!

    Because we can our own chicken, beef and broth, it is easier to use it rather than use bullion (in fact, I don't think we even own bullion cubes or powder anymore). But, of course, if you don't have broth you can dissolve 2 beef bullion cups in a quart (4 cups) of water.

    We get our bay leaves from the Amish Bulk Food store just up the road, but I know you can get them at Kroger or Walmart, or any other place that sells spices. We get all of our spices through the bulk food store even the curry and the parsley that you will see later on.

    While that cooks, check on your rice -- yep, that's an important step. Once or twice, I've gotten this far and then remembered that I haven't started a batch of rice yet. That means a long dinner delay since rice takes almost an hour to cook.

    In another pan sate your coconut oil (or butter or margarine), 1 onion chopped, 1 clove of garlic minced, 1 tsp of salt, and 3 TB of curry. After that is sauteed together add the cooked lentils and all the broth and bay leaves that come with it

    After the two are combined add 2 TB lemon juice and parsley to taste.

    I completely guess with my parsley every time so I can't even give you an estimate on the amount. I suppose, like with everything there is no right or wrong amount -- it's just what you prefer. Let the whole thing simmer for 5 minutes.

    Put the rice and the lentils on the table and serve hot together. Some of my siblings put homemade ranch dressing on top, but I prefer it just the way it is. It is filling, healthy, and just plain yummy. If you like curry, you are bound to like this.

    3 cups rice
    6 cups water
    2 cups lentils
    1 cup water
    1 quart chicken/beef broth (or a quart of water & 2 cubes of bullion)
    2 bay leaves
    2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter or margarine)
    1 large onion chopped
    1 clove of garlic minced
    2 tsp salt
    3 TB curry powder
    2 TB lemon juice 
    Chopped parsley to taste

    To cook your rice, put water and rice in a covered pot on the stove. Cook on high heat until the lid on the pot starts to rock or the steam-release starts to whistle. Then turn the heat down to a medeium/low temperature and cook for 45-60 min. Avoid lifting the lid until 45 minutes have passed. You know that the rice is cooked when there is no more water left in the pot.
    Bring lentils, water, chicken broth/bullion, bay leaves, and salt to a boil on the stove. While that heats up, saute oil (or butter/margarine), onion, garlic, salt, and curry powder in a separate pan. After the onions are clear rather than white, add the lentil mixture along with all the broth and bay leaves that come with it. As it simmers, add lemon juice and chopped parsley to taste.
    Serve hot over rice.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Just Grateful for Life!

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that this extraordinary life is actually my own. We went to town the other day and saw the buggies in the Walmart parking lot. This is a sight I have yet to see many other places. I live in a world set apart from the rest of the the world somehow and I'm so grateful. 
    I'm just feeling grateful today. I have a wonderful happy healthy family, we live on a beautiful farm, our neighbors are some of the most humble and loving people on the planet and I am a member of Christ's living gospel. I am truly blessed.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Newest Family Member

    I'm back from college and so happy to say that I'll be here until January of 2015! Everything is better at home, the air is cleaner, the company is sweeter, the water is fresher and life is just plain better. The night I got home, I met the newest addition: a rolly-polly lab/collie pup. My family found him on Craigslist and drove to pick him up the morning before I flew in. Have a look.

   The pup doesn't actually have a name. The youngest -- pictured both above and below -- wants to call him Lucky after our old black lab because they look a lot alike, but the rest of us are trying to come up with something a little more original. We've tossed round Macheto, Cryrus, Tronnio, etc. We've just got to think of something soon before Lucky sticks.

    We liked to keep at least two dogs on the farm: an older one that knows all the rules and a younger one who learns the rules from the older one. Bolto -- the drop-off dog we had since I was twelve -- died of old age and arthritis while I was at College this last spring. Bolto was my dog, and even though he was old and grumpy, I loved him. 
    My family has had a lot of dogs. Wooffy, Lady, Lucky, Steve, Sophie, Wooffy, Jules, and Bolto's six other puppies. This is a post about the eight puppies we had in 2012.   

Here they are: Shaska & Nameless -- the protectors of the our farm   
It's so good to be home and blogging again. Enjoy the rest of your July -- I plan to!