Historical Homemaking: mama’s french toast.

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What is french toast? Did the french really invent it? What genius frenchman decided to cook his toast IN his eggs? I was curious, so here’s what I found.

The popular history behind French toast (aka German toast, American toast, Spanish toast) is that it was was created by medieval European cooks who needed to use every bit of food they could find to feed their families. They knew old, stale bread (French term *pain perdu* literally means *lost bread*) could be revived when moistened and heated. Cooks would have added eggs for additional moisture and protein. Medieval recipes for “french toast” also suggest this meal was enjoyed by the wealthy. Cook books at this time were written by and for the wealthy. These recipes used white bread (the very finest, most expensive bread available at the time) with the crusts cut off, something a poor, hungry person would be unlikely to do.

“This dish does have its origins in France, where it is known as “ameritte” or *pain perdu* (“lost bread”), a term that has persisted, in Creole and Cajun cookery; in Spain it is called “torriga” and in England “Poor Knights of Windsor,” which is the same name for the dish in Denmark, “arme riddere,” and Germany, “arme ritter.” At one time or another in America it has been referred to as “Spanish,” “German,” or “nun’s toast,” and its first appearance in print as “French Toast” was in 1871. “
—The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani (p. 134)

“In the south of France, it was traditionally eaten on feast days, particularly at Easter.”
—Larousse Gastronomique, Jenifer Harvey Lang (p. 474)

“French toast is a dish we have borrowed from the French, who call it pain perdu’, or lost bread…It is known in England as the poor knights of Windsor, which is the same phrase used in many countries: fattiga riddare’ in Sweden; ‘arme ridder’ in Danish; and armer ritter’ in German. One theory about how the latter name came about goes as follows: In olden times, one of the symbols of distinction between the gentry and the common herd was that the former were expected to serve dessert at dinner. Knights, of course, were gentry. But not all of them were rich. Those who were not, in order to maintain their status, made do with armer ritter’, often served with jam.”
—Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Food Encyclopedia, Craig Claiborne (p. 178)

So there you have it! Your history lesson for the day.

Mama’s French Toast

You’ll need:
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
dash of cinnamon
4 slices of bread
powdered sugar

Whip eggs, milk, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Dip each bread slice in egg mixture, one at a time and grill until brown. Arrange on plate and let it snow! :)

Enjoy!

sparrow sig

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Historical Homemaking – wastefulness part 2 & olive oil moisturizer.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow, what a ride!”  -Unknown author

Divide the left over Christmas ham into freezer baggies for lunch meat – check.  Freeze the ham bone separately for split pea soup later – check.  Make potato pancakes with the extra mashed potatoes and divide for breakfasts next week – check. Send extra chicken corn chowder home with the kids – check.  Make guacamole before the avocados turn brown – check.  Slice up, juice and zest the lemons before they spoil – oops still haven’t got to that yet.  It never ends – this unceasing effort to avoid wastefulness.

There is such fulfillment in using up everything God has given me to its fullest potential.  My Bible tells me to be a good steward of our food, time, money, land and other resources and I am happiest when fulfilling this duty.  The truth is however, that God did not send his one and only Son to die on the cross just so that I could be a happy steward, user, or consumer of stuff.

The most precious asset He ever gave me is the same one that He gave his life to save – that is my life.  But this precious commodity came with clear instructions from Jesus – Don’t preserve you life, lose your life for Me (Matthew 16:2). Waste it all for Me (Phil 3:8).  My life is the one resource that Jesus doesn’t want me to spend time preserving.  Our lives were designed for the movement of His will alone, and all resources used up for that purpose my friends, are very well wasted.

I wish there were a quick and effective answer to why the things of this world steal away the attention from God that we wish to be His.  It is helpful to know that even the men who walked and lived physically with Jesus on a daily basis for three years also struggled with maintaining a singular devotion to Christ.

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” – Matthew 26:6-13

From my research, the perfume that she used to anoint Jesus’ feet was worth a year’s wages for her. It is generally believed that this woman is Mary, Lazarus’ sister – the same one who, when He was a guest at her home, chose to sit at Jesus’ feet instead of helping her sister Martha clean up the kitchen.  The perfume incident was the second time (that we know of) that Jesus honored and blessed Mary’s choice to waste herself for Him.  In Martha’s eyes she was wasting time when there was work to be done.  In the disciples’ eyes, she was wasting money.  In Jesus’ eyes, she was losing her life for Him.

Jesus demonstrates the perfect worldview by seeing and responding to every single moment in light of eternity.  If we were viewing our world through his lens, how would we judge “wasted” resources?  These bodies of ours are so fragile, so susceptible to disease and decay.  Frost bites our extremities, heat dehydrates our cells and either easily kills.  Just the right loss of blood or oxygen knocks us out.  Water, fire, each having vitality for life also carry deadly potential.

Jesus, the Word who was there in the beginning when man and woman were first created, is well versed in our weaknesses.  His hope has never been misplaced in these skin-covered vessels that wither like grass and fade like flowers.  He didn’t waste his life to save these temporary bodies, but rather chose to make His grace sufficient and His power perfect in our weaknesses (2 Cor 12:9) by giving His life for our souls. He died for the piece of us that lives for eternity, where His Spirit makes Himself at home, through which He can fill us with abundant love, so that we can spread Him to a world in need.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2Cr 4:16-18

Lord, don’t let my legacy even hint at a life wasted on anything beyond your plan for me.  May I determine every morning to end every day well wasted and wholly within Your will.

“Where there is true love in the heart to Jesus Christ, nothing will be thought too good, no, nor good enough, to bestow upon Him.”  Matthew Henry

~

From the beginning of the traditional Jewish Temple worship, priests underwent elaborate cleansing, perfuming and oil rituals in preparation for sacrifice, church work and entering God’s presence. Since Jesus was crucified and the veil enclosing the Holy of Holies was torn, believers now bask in the presence of God continually.  From the moment we wake up in the morning, we are entering the world as Ambassadors of Christ and are privileged to do His work.  I wonder, as you bathe, moisturize, perfume and dress each morning, who are you preparing to meet?  In the Bible, preparatory perfumes and oils are often given significance when relationships between man and God and between men and women are discussed.

Esther 2:12 “Before a girl could take her turn with King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments that were ordered for the women.  For six months she was treated with oil of myrrh.”

Ruth 3:3 “Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself with oil, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor…”

Psalm 45:8 “All Your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia…”

Song of Songs 5:13 “His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume, his lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.”

Prepare yourselves each morning to meet face to face with God and the people He loves by using this wonderful and luxurious moisturizing oil.  For more really amazing information on Beauty Secrets of the Bible see this book by Ginger Garrett:

 

OLIVE OIL MOISTURIZER

Place 2-3 drops of extra-virgin, organic olive oil onto your palm.  Rub palms together and pat your face gently.  Moisturize your face with oil before you get out of the shower so that precious moisture isn’t lost from your skin when you step into a dry bathroom.  Also while still wet, massage olive oil all over your body.

You can also add any combinations of oils of grapeseed, vitamin E, jojoba, avocado, almond, rose, myrhh or your favorite essential oil.  Most of these are available at your local whole foods or health store, on Ebay or at mountainroseherbs.com.

Brad Paisley’s – Time Well Wasted


In what ways have you “wasted” your life only to realize that you found the most fulfillment? How can we strive to lose our lives for Jesus? Leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.


 Kim’s interest in Historical Homemaking began with Civil War Reenacting and led to selling her sundries at Farmers Markets across the Big Horn Basin. Her cookies are a local favorite and she enjoys sharing stories with her customers and giving free samples. She loves to write. Her favorite pastime is spending afternoons with her family and grand babies. Visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/historicalhomemaking and drop us a message to let us know how you found us!

Historical Homemaking – part 1: wastefulness.



“This was the land of the buffalo.  One day a herd came in our direction . . . Two were shot and the humps and tongues furnished us with fine fresh meat . . . The large bone of the hind leg, after being stripped of the flesh, was buried in coals of buffalo chips and in an hour the baked marrow was served.  I have never tasted such a rich, delicious food!  One family jerked some of the hump and when rations were low it came in very handy.  In spite of having hung in the Alkali dust and being rather shriveled looking, it was relished, for when hunger stares one in the face, one isn’t particular about trifles.”

-excerpt from the book Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey (click on above picture for link to Amazon) by Lillian Schlissel and www.oregonpioneers.com.

I hate wasting things.  I really do.  My husband works hard to provide and is so generous that I just cringe at the thought of not making the best use of everything I’m given.  As a result, I try very hard to not let food spoil.

When the bananas start turning brown, I start looking for my favorite banana bread recipe.  When we aren’t eating the dinner rolls fast enough, they go in the freezer. When I separate 4 eggs to make hollandaise sauce I throw the leftover egg whites in with scrambled eggs or make meringue.  Egg shells and coffee grounds go into the compost bucket.  The white part of the green onions goes back in the cup of water after I’ve cut the chives to grow more chives for next time.

My husband is good at repurposing building materials; I repurpose our food.

In a recent article by NBC, studies show that American is “tossing away 40 percent of their meals – “essentially every other piece of food that crosses our path” – or the equivalent of $2,275 a year for a family of four, according to a new report.” (full article) Is that not the most pitiful thing you’ve ever heard when you consider the fact that, according to the United Nations, “about 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes”? (source)

When I contemplate that for just $35 each month, Gospel for Asia can feed, clothe and school a little girl, I realize that nothing is wasted on our sponsor child Alona George in India. I realize that I can live on less, just as well as she can, and I realize that my efforts for preserving and using the full potential of our grocery list is not futile.

The diaries of pioneer women, especially those who braved the westward journey, have always intrigued me.  So do the stories of homesteaders like those who built the original part of our home in 1932.  The hardships they faced – cooking over a fire of buffalo chips, pregnancy on the trail, child birth in a wagon, menstruation surrounded by men, keeping children safe and healthy on the plains – draws me in close to their hearts. I often wonder what my home’s “steader”, Mrs. Knopp, would think if she could peek in my windows and watch me wash clothes in my warm, automated, fully plumbed laundry room.  A smile comes to my face each time I dip the measuring cup into my homemade laundry detergent.  In the summer, I love hanging our towels on the line outside to dry just to feel a little bit more like the homemakers of the past.  Why waste electricity when God has already provided the heat and wind? Maybe she would relate to my resourcefulness and thrift – mine by choice, hers by necessity. I long to be as frugal, strong, steadfast and home-centered as she was.

I long not to waste time doing things that don’t matter as well.  I long not to waste the love and devotion my husband and I have built in our marriage by letting petty arguments steal our joy.  Ma Ingalls once said to Pa after an argument, “Time spent fighting with you is so wasted.”  I long not to waste one moment spent with my children because they grow and leave home so quickly.

“Who wants to look back . . . and wonder where those years have gone?”

-LeeAnn Womack, I Hope You Dance

We live in such a throw away culture.  From Barbie lamenting her disposal in Toy Story 3, “It’s just, I can’t believe she would throw me away!” to the over 50 million children who have been wasted via abortion in the US since 1973, we are surrounded by items deemed useless.  Mother Theresa said, ”I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things that we could use.”

Instead of throwing unwanted items away, we now take them to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for resale and support of shelter for families.  Instead of throwing food away, I do my best to either use it all or preserve it.

This week I set out to change one annoying habit of mine – wasting half of the limes that I buy bulk from Costco to dry out and rot.  I just can’t use them all before they go bad and honestly, the cost savings compared to buying them at my local grocery store justifies the waste in my mind.  But it still bothers me. So here’s what I did!

How to preserve citrus:

no. 1 – juice.

I juiced about half of them and froze the juice in an ice cube tray. After they froze, I transferred the lime juice cubes to a freezer bag. I use lime juice for things like shrimp tostadas, salsa, carnitas, salad dressing, etc, but it can also be used (as can any citrus juice) for hair and skin treatments or household cleaners.

no. 2 – wedge slices.

In the other ice cube tray, I cut wedges (I had to cut both ends off the lime before wedging it so they fit in the tray). After they froze, I transferred them to a freezer bag. I will add these to ice water, tea, or as a garnish fish, rice, tacos, etc.

no. 3 – spiral slices.

I pinwheel sliced 4 limes and froze them flat on a plate (to prevent them from freezing/sticking together) then put them in a bag for freezer storage. I will use these to float in a pitcher or beverage jar of iced water, lemonade, or tea. They’re really pretty!

no. 4 – dried peels.

While you could also peel or zest the limes, I am partial to lemons so I decided to dry my lime peels. When dried, they make great fire starters/kindling and can also be used for potpourri.

Remember that God gives us everything we need, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to use up every last bit of it. Sometimes that’s when we find the greatest fulfillment in His blessings: when we use up all that He’s given us to it’s fullest potential. I encourage you to find things to preserve this week, be it a veggie, an old piece of furniture, or a moment spent together, all the while thanking God for the wonder of His perfect provision!

Stay tuned for part 2 of my wastefulness series!

Gently,

-Grandma Kiki

In what ways do you preserve food? In what ways has this post challenged you? Leave us a comment below! We always love to hear from you.


 Kim’s interest in Historical Homemaking began with Civil War Reenacting and led to selling her sundries at Farmers Markets across the Big Horn Basin. Her cookies are a local favorite and she enjoys sharing stories with her customers and giving free samples. She loves to write. Her favorite pastime is spending afternoons with her family and grand babies.
Visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/historicalhomemaking and join in the conversation!

Check out the links below to find out more from Gospel for Asia’s ministries all over the world and check out the free book No Longer A Slumdog, by K.P. Yohannan, foreword by Francis Chan.



Historical Homemaking – perfection & hollandaise sauce

Back in college during one of those open-till-midnight shifts at the college book store, the hot pink cover of a book caught my attention. It was titled, “Stop Looking For Someone Perfect and Just Find Someone to Love.” I don’t remember the author’s name but I do remember reading the back cover. It listed an all too common array of traits we all want in a mate – honest, funny, loyal, handsome/pretty, generous, smart, etc. Obviously, there aren’t many (if any) people who are perfect in every way and, as we often realize, expecting to find perfection just leaves us frustrated.I think we make the same miscalculation as homemakers when we expect perfection in our home, from our husbands and children, and mostly from ourselves. There aren’t many (if any) homemakers who are perfect in every way. There are just those of us striving for perfection who are instead fighting a daily battle with frustration and exhaustion. And just what are we battling? Our own self-imposed, stress-inducing, over-extended, perfection-driven, fully-packed expectations!Did you know that perfection is simply defined as “complete?” I have always been a little overwhelmed by the verse in Matthew 5:48 that says “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This seems unreachable until you realize that the word for perfect used here means finished. In Christ, we are already perfect (complete) because of what He did for us. During our sanctification (the time between your salvation and Heaven, your “dash”) Christ sees us already perfected in the glowing grace of His Resurrection and completed victory over all of our failures.

Many of us are in the habit of excusing our ambition by lamenting, “Oh, I’m such a perfectionist!” Oh really? By whose definition of perfection, I wonder? Being a perfectionist implies an ongoing process of achieving perfection but, what am I really striving for?

When I am weary: “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:33. Here the word for perfect tamilyn means whole, sincerely, upright, complete.

When I feel ugly: “But my dove, my perfect one, is unique . . . the maidens saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her. – Song of Solomon 6:9. In this passage perfect tam means undefiled, plain, upright. Can you believe Solomon described his perfect beloved one as plain?

When I am worried: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” – Isaiah 26:3. Here the word shalowm describes God’s complete and tranquil peace and safety.

When I want to live for Him: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2. This scripture uses teleios which is the same perfect word used in Matthew 5:48 meaning finished.

When I am weak: “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2Corinthians 12:9. Here our weakness is made perfect (teleo) by God’s grace fulfilling what He said.

When I need to sharpen my focus: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12. Here Paul uses teleioo to describe that in Christ we are consecrated and God will finish what He started.

When I sin: “Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14. Teleioo is also used here because on the cross, it is finished.

When I receive: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. “ James 1:17. Teleios leaves us wanting nothing else to reach completeness.

When I am scared to death: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1John 4:18. Teleios because God’s love brought death to its end and completed our salvation.

Are you with me? Are you re-thinking your ideas of perfection? Perfection is completion but in God’s worldview, not ours. We are so easily prone to focus on completing our housework, school work, Bible study work, husband work, kitchen work, errand work, yard work, and just busy work. The truth is, dear ones, that God has already completed all we need to be perfect in his loving, adoring, fatherly, husbandly, brotherly eyes. And truthfully, your performance on a daily list of tasks is irrelevant to his affection for you. By inviting His Spirit and His Life to rule in ours, we are complete, upright, maturing, undefiled, perfected daughters of the King who is completing His perfect plan through us. Praise Him for that as you rest at the end of each perfect day.

Hollandaise Sauce.

Hollandaise sauce is most commonly known as the star of Eggs Benedict but is also used to add buttery yumminess to veggies and fish.

Whatscookingamerica.net warns that “Making this emulsified sauce requires a good deal of practice — it is not for the faint of heart.” But, don’t let that scare you. I’ve got a secret, so keep reading. Hollandaise sauce is of Huguenot origins and originally appeared in a French cookbook in 1651. It is named for, of course, Holland, because during World War II that’s where France had to get their butter. While butter is the predominant ingredient in hollandaise sauce, I’d say it earned the name.

Because Eggs Benedict is my husband’s all-time favorite breakfast, I bravely set out many years ago to learn how to make the perfect hollandaise sauce. The main ingredients are melted butter and egg yolks. Simple, right? Not so much. The main problem arises when it is simmered too hot and the yolks actually begin to cook into a scrambled egg. Once you mess up, there’s no remedy but to start over or serve a chunky sauce (ask me how I know).

Many trials over the years lead me to the triumphant moment when I found a recipe that promised a no-fail hollandaise sauce. If you follow the directions exactly (especially pouring the hot butter in a slow, thin stream) I assure you that this recipe makes a perfect hollandaise sauce. And we just love perfection in the kitchen, don’t we?

BLENDER HOLLANDAISE

  • Ingredients
  • Original recipe makes 6 servings
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 1/2 cup butter

Directions

In the container of a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds.

Place the butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and hot. Set the blender on high speed, and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the blender container in a pan of hot tap water.

Completely,

Grandma Kiki

Leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.


Kim’s interest in Historical Homemaking began with Civil War Reenacting and led to selling her sundries at Farmers Markets across the Big Horn Basin. Her cookies are a local favorite and she enjoys sharing stories with her customers and giving free samples. She loves to write. Her favorite pastime is spending afternoons with her family and grand babies. Visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/historicalhomemaking and drop us a message to let us know how you found us!

Feed me: french sausage & onion soup.

French onion soup is one of our favorite meals. Especially because it’s really simple and very filling! It’s the perfect comfort food for a rain or snow day! Here’s my recipe, adapted after a few tries.

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

two large sweet onions, chopped
a tablespoon of grapeseed or olive oil (we prefer grapeseed because doesn’t come out as oily.)
minced garlic
splash of red wine
two cans of beef broth (ha, toucans…)
one pound of sausage (we’ve done it with or without the sausage. Sometimes we just want some extra protein.)

Topping:
french bread
mozzarella cheese
chopped tomato
torn spinach

Begin by chopping up the onions (as fast as you can so you don’t cry!) and tossing them in a large skillet with the oil and garlic. Cook until soft and caramelized, which, if done right is supposed to take 25-35 minutes. This releases even more of their gooey sweetness. Keep the burner on medium so you don’t burn them. Slow and steady wins the prize!

After the onions are throughly browned and smelling fantastic, add in the splash of red wine and cook until absorbed (about 2 minutes). Next pour in the beef broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes. The soup will thicken up slightly and will make your whole house smell like onions.

While you’re simmering the onion soup, cook up the sausage with some additional red wine and garlic and flip the broiler on low. Mix sausage into soup and continue to simmer.

When you’re satisfied with the taste and thickness, bowl the soup and slice enough pieces of french bread for each bowl. Place on top and add spinach, tomatoes, and cheese. Place bowls on a cookie sheet in the broiler until golden brown.

This always comes out so yummy no matter what twists I add to it. I hope you enjoy it too!

Any questions? Comments? What’s your favorite comfort food?

Snowed in,
-Sparrow<3

Historical Homemaking – gentle leading & meal planning.


School, homework, vacuuming, dinner, soccer practice, piano lessons, Awana, ministry, boy scouts, bills, neighbors, devotions, baths, lawns, dirty cars, gymnastics, doctor appointments, youth group, Bible study, dentist appointments, dishes, sickness, exercise, grocery shopping, budgeting, dusting, pets, prayer, laundry, gardening, karate, clutter, toilets, closets . . . .Anybody else ready for a nap?  Just thinking about all the things that moms have to do makes me want to hang up my superwoman cape for good!  If there is anything I hear over and over from all my “mom” friends it is the simple fact that we are tired.

It is the cold, hard fact that there are simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish the things we want to do, that exhausts us so much.  I’m not about to preach to you about making good choices, keeping your priorities straight, or getting up earlier to make time for God.  (I mean, really, how many of us can physically persevere to get up every morning earlier than the hungry two-year old when we are keeping the hectic pace of our schedules?)  You’ve heard all the advice (wanted or unwanted) and besides, there are a myriad of Christian books and sermons and counselors and friends to tell you that you need to make time with God a priority and be sure you’re not over-doing it on activities.  Even though time with God is essential if you are going to survive this life with your brain intact, there is a season of your life when quiet time just isn’t going to happen every morning.  

Want to know a secret?

 God understands!  Have you ever read the verse below and noticed (or clenched onto for dear life) the last line?

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”  Isaiah 40:11

God is not blind to that fact that during this season of your life, you may need to take things a little slower.  You may need more time to get ready for church on Sunday mornings.  You may not be able to volunteer to serve at that ladies’ event this time.  You may need to turn down that invitation because you can’t (or don’t want to) get a babysitter.  You might have to postpone that mission trip for a few years.  You might turn off your phone at 8pm because your household is sleeping.  Your time with God may be at midnight sometimes because that’s when the castle is quiet.  
Read that scripture again.  

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”  Isaiah 40:11

Take some time today to meditate on this scripture and you’ll begin to feel God putting his arms around you and telling you, “It’s okay Mommy lamb.  Loving your babies is all I expect from you right now.  I love them even more than you do and I have a plan for their lives.  Part of my plan was to give them you as a Mommy and my plans are always perfect, aren’t they?“   
Can you picture the Shepherd tending his flock within the safety of a picket-fenced sheepfold? The sun is setting and it’s time to move on as most of the shepherd begins to lead the folk through the gate.  The fold is emptying quickly when the Shepherd notices the young ewe with the new twins struggling to rise.  She is still a little weak from giving birth and her babies are too young to keep up with the rest of the flock.  The Shepherd smiles as He watches the lambs awkwardly bounce around their mama.  The ewe has a look of desperation as the Shepherd approaches. As He helps mama stand up, He lifts each baby and carries each one under his arms.  He walks slowly alongside his beloved mama lamb as her face lifts and they rejoice and awe over the babies and catch up to the rest of the flock.

Do you ever feel like the exhausted and desperate ewe? We all have at times.
Can you feel the love and understanding that God has for you?  There is no condemnation in his heart towards you.  Allow Him to gently lead you each morning and throughout your day.  And when life is too much and you’re completely drained of energy, look up to Him and let Him carry your little lambs for you and take the time to enjoy a walk alongside Him.
When we seek only the Shepherd’s design for our schedules and aren’t tempted to reach for our superwoman capes, that is when true intimacy with Christ is born. You’re not alone. You weren’t meant to . . . and, simply dear, you can’t survive.

Lean on the one true Shepherd. Find peace.
What’s for dinner?
 
Taking on this dreaded question without prior planning can not only make us exhausted and frustrated, but it also busts our budgets.  I understand being busy, and planning ahead may be more work, but I’ve learned that developing a simple method of meal planning ahead of time saves a lot of time, money, and energy during the week.  Here are some tips on how to plan meals, while saving you time, money, and the frustration of dinner-seeking zombies.
 
Tip #1: take weekly inventory.
Make a concerted effort sometime during every weekend to take a quick inventory of your fridge, freezer, and pantry.  Jot down which meats and veggies you have on hand, taking note of anything else that could be used for a side dish.  Then plan 5-6 meals for the week, adding ingredients you don’t have to a grocery list.  Plan to use perishables or food about to go bad as soon as possible.
 
Tip #2: use your resources.
I absolutely love the ingredient search at allrecipes.com.  If your creativity is waning for a particular item, all you have to do is enter in the things you have and you’ll get a list of recipes that include those items. All Recipes also offers the option to create a grocery list from the chosen recipes.
 
The Grocery IQ app is great for making and saving your grocery lists. The app can track your spending if you want it to. Once you use it for a few months, you can guesstimate your total fairly easily before you even go to the store! Visit the link here for iPhone or Android devices: http://www.groceryiq.com Oh, and it’s free! (who doesn’t like free?)
 
Taste of home is a favorite source of mine for recipes as well!
 
Tip #3: make too much.
Always make more in a recipe than the family can eat. Leftovers are a life-saver on those busy days when gourmet lunches just aren’t an option! You’ll find that if you stick to a consistent plan, you’ll get to take a day off and knight it “Leftover day” because of all the extras you’ll have.
 
Tip #4: think ahead.
For example: Sometimes you can find big pork roasts on sale for $.99 a pound but it’s too much for one meal.  That’s okay, buy it anyway.  On Monday, put it in the crock pot for several hours until it shreds (don’t add any water or seasoning).  One night, make BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw.  Another night, serve kahlua pork on wilted cabbage with steamed rice, pineapple & veggie skewers and teriyaki sauce (for a true Hawaiian mixed plate, include macaroni salad).  And yet another night, serve carnitas tacos by adding all the trimmings, soft corn tortillas, rice and beans.  Three great meals – minimal preparation, energy, time, thinking and money.
Also a helpful tip: It’s worth it to take a day once a week (or after each shopping trip) and chop up all your veggies and put them in containers or baggies. That way if some one wants a salad, or tacos, or a sandwich for lunch, they have fresh veggies and fruit at their fingertips. It’s a great way to satisfy that “I’m bored, so I eat” syndrome with a healthy alternative.
Tip #5: be flexible.
Don’t tie meals to specific days because life changes too quickly and your meal plan needs to be flexible.  And don’t worry about your list being fancy.  Just hang it on the fridge and each morning, take a look and see which meal will best work for that day.  Make sure you include some crock pot meals for those days when you’re gone all day.

If you’re stuck, just grab a piece of meat out of the freezer in the morning. By the afternoon, you’ll most likely come up with something to do with it by dinnertime.

Tip #6: set a budget.

(From Lilah) My hubby and I shop once a week and spend $50. That’s $200 a month, $50 a week, with occasional trips to Costco for $50-$100 extra. We spend about $20 a week on produce and $30 on everything else. Whatever your income bracket may be, set up a budget that is determined before you go shopping, and stick to it as closely as possible. While sometimes it’s a challenge, and definitely takes some adjusting in the beginning, I can say from experience that it’s saved a lot of hassle and worry over money and an under-stocked refrigerator.

 
No matter what your weekly planning looks like, remember to allow your Heavenly Father to gently lead you, even through those mac & cheese and cereal dinners.
 
Gently,
Grandma Kiki

In what ways do you ‘hang your supermom cape up’ so you can depend on the Lord? Do you have tips for meal planning that you’d like to share? Leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.

 
Kim’s interest in Historical Homemaking began with Civil War
Reenacting and led to selling her sundries at Farmers Markets across the Big Horn Basin. Her cookies are a local favorite and she enjoys sharing stories with her customers and giving free samples. She loves to write. Her favorite pastime is spending afternoons with her family and grand babies. Visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/historicalhomemaking and drop us a message to let us know how you found us!

Historical Homemaking – tradition & blueberry muffins.

 

When my kids were little, I was a real party-pooper.  They were not allowed to trade Pokemon cards, read Harry Potter or watch the Disney Channel.  Anything that most of America’s children were obsessed with was automatically banned in our home.  Instead, we watched Veggie Tales videos and Little House on the Prairie reruns.  I even coined the phrase that I am and always have been “anti-trendy.”
 
I would like to claim that is because I have completely mastered Romans 12:2 and don’t “conform any longer to the pattern of this world” but have been completely “transformed by the renewing of” my mind and am able to “test and approve what God’s will is.”  But I am certainly not that holy or consistent.
Traditions are inherited, established or customary patterns of thought, actions or behaviors.  In pondering my habit of automatically rejecting new trends, I realize that I am perhaps acting out in defense of tradition.  I don’t want to lose, and I don’t want my kids and their kids to forget the significance of the lives of former generations.  I want their thoughts, actions and behaviors to reflect their Godly heritage – not Disney’s.  So what about popular new trends that are becoming traditions?  Should we be keeping them?  And what about all the old traditions we keep?  Is it important to know their source and meaning?  Consider this story of one family’s tradition:

Once upon a time there was hungry man.  He brought home a prize Virginia ham and asked his wife to cook it for him.  She happily took the ham, cut off one end and placed both pieces in a baking dish.  The husband looked at the wife and exclaimed, “What did you do to my ham?!  Why did you cut off the end?!”  The wife thought for a moment then responded, “I don’t know why I cut off the end.  That’s what my mom always did.”  So the wife called her mother and asked her, “Mom, why do you always cut off the end of a ham when you bake it?”  Mom answered, “I don’t know why I cut off the end.  That’s what my mom always did.”  So they decided to ask Grandma, “Grandma, why do you always cut off the end of a ham when you bake it?”  Grandma answered, “I don’t know why you cut the end off of your ham but, mine wouldn’t fit in the pan.”

What is the point of holding fast to a tradition when we don’t know why we do it?  Some traditions that we keep just don’t make any sense.  Some traditions are well, just silly or pointless and may even be keeping us in a type of bondage.  I know this first hand because I knew the bondage of the proper folding of bath towels for many, many years.  My mother always insisted on towels being folded a particular way for my entire life, so as an adult I, of course, always folded my towels the same way.  
 
Then one day, I was at my parents’ home when my mom was folding laundry.  I noticed she wasn’t folding her towels the same way she had taught me.  She was folding them a much easier and quicker way.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I exclaimed, “What are you doing folding towels that way?!  I always got in trouble if I folded towels like that!”  She looked at me, a little surprised at my over-reaction, and said, “That’s how they best fit in the cupboard at our old house.  This house has wider shelves.”
However, we also shouldn’t limit ourselves in identifying ways to create new traditions for our families.  When my husband was growing up, his single mom had to work long hours and she didn’t have the luxury of an abundance of extra time to spend with her kids.  But, she devised a brilliant solution for making birthday mornings extra special.  On the morning of their birthday, she would rise early and bake blueberry muffins.  As the heavenly aroma filled the rooms, the birthday kid would be awakened with a song and a warm muffin topped with a birthday candle.

Kim’s youngest, Sam, enjoy his birthday morning muffins. 
My husband cherished these memories and brought this tradition into our home.  And it blesses me to say that it has continued into our married daughters’ homes.  I hope there never comes a birthday morning-muffin-eating generation down the line that doesn’t know that it began with my Mom-in-law’s desire to celebrate the births of her kids and make them feel loved.
It was never my goal in life to suck all the fun out of my kids’ lives by limiting their exposure to popular trends that could have become traditions.  In my concern for the traditions that our family would be known for in coming generations, I simply didn’t want them to be known for their Pokemon card collection or their love for Harry Potter.
 
Even though on this earth we can’t reach the perfection of always knowing the will of God for our families, we can come close according to Romans 12:2.  We can refuse to conform to the pattern of popular trends (a truly first-world, American phenomenon) and we can certainly be transformed by letting the Holy Spirit renew our minds.
 
Letting God have our minds gives us eyes to see the world like He does – stamped with eternity and through the lens of Grace. 
What family tradition can you teach your kids about today that will strengthen their Biblical worldview?
(From Lilah: Okay, so I found this Lego stop motion video of “Tradition” from Fiddler On The Roof on YouTube and just had to add it in here…that’s all.)
THOUGHTS ABOUT BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
 
I don’t have a favorite blueberry muffin recipe.  Honestly, since this tradition of rising early and baking muffins is my husband’s idea, and he is naturally the early riser in our family, he usually does the early birthday morning baking.  Consequently, I keep a supply of “just add water” blueberry muffin mix in my pantry for birthdays.  And I have to confess that I don’t think anyone bakes a better blueberry muffin than Costco.  But, that is cheating, according to my husband, because if you use store-bought muffins the house doesn’t smell like them.
 
I have seen a blueberry muffin scented candle but, never mind that’s beside the point.
 
We have however, one very important tip when it comes to baking blueberry muffins regardless of which mix or recipe you use and that is – generously sprinkle the top with sugar before baking.  The type of sugar is a personal preference – we have used organic cane sugar, granulated sugar and brown sugar at different times.  At other times, we have made a streusel topping by mixing butter in but decided we prefer the melted butter on the hot baked muffin and there’s no reason to double up.  And just one more note on baking muffins (and most cakes, cookies and quick breads) – never ever bake them as long as the recipe says.  Bake just till firm on the top for optimum moistness.
 
 
-Grandma Kiki
 
 
 
 
 
Kim’s interest in Historical Homemaking began with Civil War
Reenacting and led to selling her sundries at Farmers Markets across the Big Horn Basin. Her cookies are a local favorite and she enjoys sharing stories with her customers and giving free samples. She loves to write. Her favorite pastime is spending afternoons with her family and grand babies.