Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Time for the Hodgepodge

Once again, it's time for the Hodgepodge.

Join Joyce and the gang

(She writes the questions;
we write the answers. Why not join us!)

1. I'm celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, 'You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." Would you agree? If not why not?

Faith in God gives us hope and casts out fear.  I've seen a lack of faith produce cynicism and bitterness. Without God, it is impossible to deal with the horrific things we see going on in the world. (See #2.)

My trust is in Jesus, God in the flesh, who gives us forgiveness, life and hope beyond the immediate. Do I feel it? No. I know it. I choose to put my trust in Him, who paid for my sin and who will ultimately judge the world and bring justice. As (St.) Peter said, when Jesus asked if they were going to leave him also,  "Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."

 "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” John 8:31-32
John 1:14–16, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

To choose not to believe in God by default means to choose to believe in chance, in fate, in purposelessness (I tried to find a shorter word), hopelessness and despair. Jesus said 'You're either for me or against me.' (Matt. 12:30) There is no in between.

These are things I want in my life: grace, truth, forgiveness, freedom, hope. I choose to put my trust in Jesus. I choose to believe. And what happens if you run up against doubt? Then you choose again to put your trust in God. For someone like me, there's not an emotional cloud that settles upon me. Remember, if you've ever noticed on my sidebar, my personality type is ISTJ. :-) But the alternative to faith is empty, devoid of joy or hope or certainty of justice or a future.

2. What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily in your birthyear, just the same date/same month.

Unfortunately, they are things we would like to think that humans would not do to one another, but even as I sit in my comfortable house in Wisconsin, things like this are still going on in the world. We just choose not to notice:

Deportation of 70,000 Jews from Lodz Poland to Auschwitz begins 1944

Enola Gay drops atom bomb on Hiroshima 1945

3. Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to 'have your cake and eat it too.'

I want to live in beautiful Wisconsin and have Mediterranean temperatures. I know.

4. What's something you do that makes you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?

Spending time with my grandchildren makes me feel younger. Realizing how old my children are makes me feel old. Doing things outdoors, breathing the fresh Wisconsin air makes me feel young(er); watching the mainstream news media get excited about celebrities, football players, and Beyonce, but reporting almost nothing about the important things happening in the world makes me feel old(er) and sad. And disgusted. And furious.

5. When did you last do something that was 'a piece of cake'?

I don't know.

6.  Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What's something else you'd add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage) 

Wisdom improves (grows) with age and experience, something many of the young seem to forget. In this society I think we foolishly treat the young as though they are wise and treat the old as though they are irrelevant.

7. If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200, what should I give away? By my calculations we'll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is in time for Christmas.

Two Hundred! That is incredible, Joyce, Congratulations! So for the giveaway, let's see. Two hundred turkeys?  OR an gift card!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I know there are people out there who think that bloggers should keep their faith to themselves. I don't agree. Why on earth would we do that? When we see a world suffering, when we see injustice abound, why would we not share with others a Savior who brings hope, justice, life, and joy. Goodness knows the faithless certainly don't keep silent. Neither should we. If someone were dying of a disease, wouldn't we let them know there is a cure.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Does Woolly Bear Caterpillar Predict Milder or Harsher Winter?

Woolly Bear Caterpillar
On his way to the mailbox

Are we going to have another harsh winter?


"According to folk wisdom, when the brown bands on fall woolly bears are narrow, it means a harsh winter is coming. The wider the brown band, the milder the winter will be. Some towns hold annual woolly worm festivals in the fall, complete with caterpillar races and an official declaration of the woolly worm's prediction for that winter. 
"Are the woolly worm's bands really an accurate way to predict the winter weather? Dr. C.H. Curran, former curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, tested the woolly worms' accuracy in the 1950's. His surveys found an 80% accuracy rate for the woolly worms' weather predictions.

"Other researchers have not been able to replicate the success rate of Curran's caterpillars, though. Today, entomologists agree that woolly worms are not accurate predictors of winter weather."

 From February of 2014
It was cold, trust me.


I'm putting my money on the Woolly Bear Caterpillar rather than the weatherman, although I don't have last year's caterpillar to compare the two. We need a mild winter after last year's horrid winter and the year before where we had 18 inches of snow the beginning of May.

 May 5, 2013

Am I the only one who calls them Wooly Bears? I see that this article calls them a Woolly Worm. I know they're a worm, but they're way cuter than your typical nightcrawler.


P.S.  After I had written the above, Mr. Cranberry saw TWO woolly bear caterpillars crossing the road. They were all black. That is not a good sign for those of us in the Northwoods. 

P.P.S. So what do you think? Any predictions? And does it matter to you? Do you love winter?


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Chinese Five Spice Pork Recipe, Gluten Free Recipe

Just in case anyone forgot where their food comes from

Chinese Five Spice Pork Recipe:

Lean pork loin, cut into thin strips
Olive oil or Coconut Oil
Red Pepper (bell pepper)
Five Spice Powder

Stir fry the pork in oil until crispy on at least one side. Move to a plate. In the same skillet, put chopped veggies and stirfry until translucent. Don't overcook.

Add the pork back to the skillet. Heat thoroughly.

Sprinkle with Chinese Five Spice Powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Serve with rice or alone.

That's it. I know, it's almost like cheating it's so easy. But it is delicious!

I don't think there's anything Chinese about this, but I use a Chinese Five Spice Powder from McCormick, so...

And when you're really hungry, it's a quick dinner. Do not, I repeat: Do NOT grab a Lunchable or candybar or a donut and Mountain Dew. This is a good, nutritious meal that is EASY to make.


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake, Apple Cheesecake, Gluten Free Recipes

Here are the two cheesecake recipes I promised. I hope you'll enjoy them.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake, Gluten Free Recipe: 
1 c graham cracker crumbs (I would use a gluten-free cookie or cracker)
1/2 c finely chopped pecans
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c butter, melted

3 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 c apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I used Granny Smith, but only because the original recipe called for them. I think they hold up better than my McIntosh do.)
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c chopped pecans
Caramel sauce

Heat oven to 350. Mix crumbs, pecans, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Press into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. bake 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and 3/4 c of the sugar at med speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each. Blend in vanilla; pour over crust. 

Toss apples with combined 1/3 c sugar and the cinnamon; spoon mixture over cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Drizzle with caramel sauce.  Oh My Goodness!

Apple Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake - Gluten Free Recipe:

1 pkg. Gluten-free ginger snaps, crushed (about 1.5 cups crumbs). I bought Mi-Del from Walmart
3/4 c. ground hazelnuts
3 T. brown sugar
6 T. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees F. Grease (cooking spray) a 9-inch springform pan.

Toss gingersnaps, hazelnuts, brown sugar, and melted butter until mixed. Press this mixture onto the bottom and a little up the sides of the springform pan.

3   8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. canned solid pack pumpkin
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 T. vanilla extract
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground allspice
4 eggs

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until fluffy. Stir in pumpkin. Mix in the cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla. Beat eggs in, one at a time. Mix all until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared crust (above). I also set it on a cookie sheet because my springform pan was filled right to the top. I was supposed to bake it in the preheated oven for 90 minutes, but it took a good 120 minutes before it was done enough.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for an hour, then refrigerate several hours before serving. I made mine in the afternoon of one day and served it the evening of the next day, so it was well chilled.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I know, you don't like the way that looks. That's the part you break off and eat before the company arrives.

(Caramel) Apple Cheesecake Slice
The caramel is optional. 

There. Now you have two cheesecake recipes to try out over the weekend.

What's a 'weekend'?


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