Sunday, January 29, 2017

Five Minute Friday - CONTROL


Five Minute Fridaya free write, which means, as our hostess, Kate Motaung, says, "...no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write."

This week's prompt is: CONTROL. 

Go!

Sometimes it seems that life is totally out of control. Things don't go the way that we would have liked for them to go or, at least the way that we thought they would, and our world is shaken.

Some days distractions come at us fast and furious from every direction leaving us mentally weary and just flat tired at the end of the day, our to-do lists undone and us too tired to care.

Maybe it's time to slow down, take a step back and look at our priorities...take a look at what we're allowing to control our lives.

In my own life, I see that, for far too long, I've been stuck between where I used to be...five, ten, even twenty years ago...and where I am right now. Hard as I've tried to hang on to the past, the truth is, where I was then, isn't where I am today and what I was doing then, isn't what I am doing now.

I am one that is very slow to accept change, but, am realizing that if there is going to be any forward movement on my part, I must accept the changes that have taken place, embrace this season of life that I'm in, and move out of the stagnancy that I have been stuck in for far too long.

Stop!

Until next time...
~Rebecca

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Burn's Night 2017 - Recipes For Crockpot Haggis, Tatties and Neeps, and Scottish Oatcakes

Robert Burns - Scottish Bard
Celebrating Burn's Night has become an annual event in our home. It started back in 2012 when I was browsing Facebook and something came up on one of the Scottish groups that I was in about Burn's Night (an annual celebration in Scotland commemorating the life of bard, Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759). 

After doing a little research, I decided that, while it probably wouldn't be traditional by UK standards, we were going to celebrate Burn's Night anyway...American style!

I discovered that the Burn's Night supper traditionally consists of haggis, tatties, and neeps. I searched around online and came up with a recipe for haggis made in a crockpot. I tweaked the recipe a bit, made it my own, and have made it this way annually ever since.

In addition to the crockpot haggis I also make the traditional tatties (mashed potatoes) and neeps (mashed turnips), and have added my own favorite version of Scottish oatcakes to round out the meal. It makes for a delicious meal...one that we look forward to year after year.


Up to now we have always celebrated Burn's Night on January 25th (Robert Burns' actual birthday and traditional date of celebration in the UK), but, this year, I had to be out of town for training with work on the 25th, so we decided to celebrate a day early and do it on the evening of the 24th.

My cousin, Dave, who just happens to share a birthday with the beloved bard of Scotland, joined us for our celebration this year and enjoyed his first Burn's Night by partaking of a fine Scottish meal (at least the American equivalent thereof) and listening, with us, to two of our favorite works by Robbie Burns...Auld Lang Syne and Address To A Haggis (which I absolutely adore!).

Should you and your family decide to celebrate with us at any point, here are my traditional Burn's Night recipes to enjoy. <3


Crockpot Haggis

Tatties and Neeps
Scottish Oat Cakes

CROCKPOT HAGGIS

2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 large or two small chopped red onions
2 cup whole oats
a couple of pinches each of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 egg
1 cup chicken broth (I add more as cooking time progresses)

In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients, minus the broth, the same way you'd make a meatloaf. Plop it into your crockpot that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Press meat down to form in the shape of the crockpot. Pour broth over top. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or on high for about 4. This is cooked fully when it has browned on the edges and is beginning to brown on top. Don't overcook and risk drying out. Using a large spatula, carefully remove from crockpot and place on cutting board (I loosened ours by running a table knife around the edges first and it came out beautifully). (Save broth to serve over top.) Let rest for 30 minutes before slicing.


TATTIES AND NEEPS

1¼ lb. potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1¼ lb. turnips, peeled, roughly chopped
A generous pinch of grated nutmeg
4 tbsp milk
4 tbsp butter
Sea salt and pepper

Tatties - Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt, cover the pan with a lid. Bring the potatoes to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender (approx 20 mins). Drain the potatoes and keep to one side. Add half of the butter and half the milk to the pan the potatoes were cooked in. Melt the butter and warm the milk, add the cooked potatoes and mash. Add the nutmeg and stir well to create a smooth, creamy mash.  

Neeps - Place the turnips in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt, cover the pan with a lid. Bring the turnips to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender (approx 20 mins). Drain the turnips and keep to one side. Add half of the butter and half the milk to the pan the turnips were cooked in. Melt the butter and warm the milk, add the cooked turnips and mash.



SCOTTISH OATCAKES

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. light butter
1/2 c. water, or more if needed
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With a fork, stir in the water. Dough should just cling together. Divide into 3 portions.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion as thin as possible. Cut into triangles. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Oatcakes should not be brown but be still quite blonde when done.

Happy Burns Night!

~Rebecca


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Five Minute Friday - REFINE


Five Minute Fridaya free write, which means, as our hostess, Kate Motaung, says, "...no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write."

This week's prompt is: REFINE. And, yes, I'm a few days late, but that's how it goes sometimes...well...for me, most of the time...anyway...

Go!

I'll be honest, this week's prompt has really had me stumped and I've hardly known where to go with it. 

I looked up scripture verses, but nothing struck me, so I turned to the dictionary. 

Refine - to remove impurities or unwanted elements from, to purify, to improve something by making small changes, improve, perfect, hone, fine-tune, to free from impurities or unwanted material, to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing...

Ah! Pruning! Now there is a word that strikes a chord!!!

The word refine conjures up images in my mind of a perfecting process that takes one through steps that, with each one, things get better and better...which is true...that's what it does...or, at least, that's what it's supposed to do. I think that some refining processes...like the one they use to refine sugar, for example...takes out the most important parts, leaving behind something that is not only less than what it should be, but is right down dangerous...but that's a whole 'nother matter altogether...so skip that...

But, pruning...now there's a process that sounds painful And it is...especially when you're the one being pruned!

Pruning involves cutting back the parts that are overgrown and out of control or cutting away the parts that are dead. But why? To increase fruitfulness. To increase growth. 

And in the end...refine.

Stop!

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).



Until next time...
~Rebecca

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rebecca's Hearth and Home Newsletter - January 2017

Greetings, Dear Friends!

It's a new year and a new day! And it's time to get back to what the Lord called me to do many years ago. It's time to get back to my writing and to get on with this blog!

The original Hearth and Home did not start out as a blog. It started out as a monthly (sometimes twice a month) newsletter published through Rebecca's Hearth and Home on Yahoo Groups in January of 2002. It continued in one form another on a consistent (and sometimes not-so-consistent) basis for several years with the last issue being published in July of 2013. 

I have decided that it is time to just pick up where I left off and revive Rebecca's Hearth and Home newsletter. At this time I cannot promise that it will be very large in content or published on a monthly basis, but I do promise to get an issue, however small it might be, out as consistently as I am possibly able to in the months ahead. 

Will you join me for the first of what I hope to be many new issues of Rebecca's Hearth and Home? Here we go...

DOLLARS AND SENSE 

- We have spent the past two decades plus digging out of debt...sometimes it seems with a teaspoon. In the past two and half years debt pay-off has drastically picked up steam since taking a part-time job at our local state park. Before starting I sought advice from someone who had recently achieved debt freedom for themselves (our youngest daughter) and incorporated Dave Ramsey's '7 Baby Steps To Financial Freedom', including putting back an emergency fund, developing a "cash only" mentality, and incorporating the envelope system. All of our credit cards, which were far too many, except one, are paid off in full, cut up, destroyed, and accounts closed. Praise the Lord! For the first time in 20 years we see light at the end of the tunnel and, with continued persistence, plan to be debt-free by January 1, 2018 or shortly thereafter. Yeah!!!

- I have been saving points earned on my KICKBACK card at Conoco for the past year or more. The last time I was in Lamar I finally used them and it resulted in a free fill-up at the gas pump.

- I took advantage of deep, after-Christmas mark-downs at Walmart this year, which resulted in several large, multi-roll packages of wrapping paper for $2.44 each, several large containers of plastic Christmas ornaments (to be used in upcoming craft projects) for $1.24 each, and 30 felt stockings (also to be used in upcoming craft projects) for 24 cents each. All of these will put me ahead of the game in preparing for Christmas 2017.


NEW RECIPES

CHICKEN WITH BLACK BEANS AND RICE
(Our youngest daughter recently shared this recipe with me and it was a big hit! Will definitely make it again and again! Thanks, Amanda!)

2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup rice
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
2 c. cooked chicken, chopped
2 c. frozen peppers
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 3/4 plus 2 T. chicken broth
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in skillet. Add rice and seasonings; stir for one minute. Add all other ingredients, except cheese, and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Add cheese just before serving.

TURKEY AND LENTIL SOUP

(Had leftover turkey and bone broth in the freezer after Christmas, so turned it into this delicious and filling soup.)

2 pounds lentils
4 cups turkey stock or bone broth
8 cups water
1 large onion
3 teaspoons salt
black pepper
cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 squirts Bragg liquid aminos
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped

Soak lentils all day in a large pot. A couple of hours before serving, drain lentils and put back in pot. Add all ingredients above except turkey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to low and cook until lentils are soft. Add more water if the soup gets too thick for your liking. Toward end of cooking time add chopped turkey and adjust seasonings to taste.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD
(Absolutely delicious!!!)



1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar (I used crystalized cane sugar)
2 eggs
4 small bananas, mashed (approximately 1 1/3 cups) (I used 3 medium bananas)
1/2 c. chocolate chip

     Topping

1/4 c. half & half (I used cashew milk)
2 T. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 T. chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. (I didn't have a loaf pan handy, so I used an 8 x 8 square glass pan.)

2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in eggs and bananas. Add banana mixture and chocolate chips to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.

4. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

     Topping

1. Heat half & half and brown sugar over medium heat until brown sugar has dissolved and tiny bubbles start to form on the edges. Stir in vanilla and butter until melted and turn off heat. Add chocolate chips and do not stir, let sit 2-3 minutes.

2. Whisk chocolate chips until smooth. Cool completely and drizzle over bread.

(I shared the recipe above with my changes made in parenthesis. For original recipe go to SPEND WITH PENNIES by clicking here.)

Well...that's it for this time! It's not much, but it's a start! I wish you all a blessed and beautiful New Year!

Until Next Time...
~Rebecca

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Blast From The Past - The First Issue of HEARTH AND HOME - Published January 18, 2002

I was looking through some of the posts on my original HEARTH AND HOME, which was started back in 2002 on Yahoo Groups, and ran across the very first issue of HEARTH AND HOME that I did. It was published on Yahoo Groups - Rebecca's Hearth and Home - January 18, 2002. Thought some of you might enjoy reading it! <3



Greetings Dear Sisters!
 
Welcome to the first issue of Hearth and Home...dedicated to making your home a house of many blessings!
 
"She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness." (Proverbs 31:27)
 
Household Hints:
 
Shine everything from mirrors to countertops to faucets to porcelain with a quick spray of 409 All-Purpose Cleaner and a soft rag.
 
Use the plastic bags that your groceries and Wal-mart items are packed up in as trash can liners for small wastepaper baskets. I nestle three at a time inside of each other, then when it comes time to remove the bathroom trash...I just lift up the handles of the innermost bag...tie them shut...and toss away! I only have to line the wastepaper baskets twice a week this way, too! It also saves on the cost of trash bags!
 
Dollars & Sense:
 
After Tithe....Pay Yourself First
 
After tithe make savings a top-priority "expense." Pay yourself first through direct desposit, payroll deduction, or setting up a separate savings account that you put money in each pay day. Make sure you pay yourself a regular amount at regular intervals.
 
Finding Cash
 
Here are some suggestions for finding a little extra money in your pocket:
 
1. Pack lunches at home for work, school, and special outings. Bringing food from home can
    add up to big savings over the course of a
    year!
 
2. Cut financial fees.  Close out credit cards you
    seldom or never use and switch debts to lower
    interest rate credit cards.
 
3. Look for unnecessary expenses. Eliminate
    subscriptions to magazines unread and health
    clubs unattended. The library may have the
    magazines that you read and you can look at
    them there.
 
4. Reduce variable expenses. You can probably
    cut the cost of food, clothing, and entertain-
    ment by 10% without much effort and little 
    effect to your lifestyle. For example, buy
    clothes on sale or even at such places as the
    local Salvation Army or Goodwill Thrift Store.
    Buy  nonperishable items, such as toilet paper
    in large quantities. It usually costs less and it
    will keep.
 
5. Consider refinancing  your mortgage. With
    interest rates down now might be a good time
    to do this. Just make sure you plan  on stay-
    ing in your present home long enough to
    recover refinancing costs.
 
Many Utility Companies Offer Different Rates. If you haven't asked, you may not be receiving the least expensive rate. Call and talk with one of your utility company representatives about getting the lowest possible rate. Most of these folks are friendly and glad to help. They only need to be asked. This strategy alone can save you $20 to $80 per month.
 
Question:
 
Spending time in the Word with your family is important. Deuteronomy 11:19 instructs us to teach the words of God to our children "...speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
 
What are some ways that you incorporate the teaching of God's Word throughout the day in your home?
 
(If you don't mind me sharing your response in a future issue of this e-zine, please send your reply to this question to me at:
 
proverbs31heart@yahoo.com        
 
Please put Hearth and Home Question on the subject line. Thank you!)
 
Recipes:
 
Chicken and Broccoli Ring
 
2 cans crescent rolls
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded Monterey cheese
1 can of chicken or 1 to 2 cups cooked chicken,
chopped

Leaving a 3-inch circle in the center, form a sun with crescent rolls on a pizza stone. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place on rolls around the center. Tuck points of rolls over meat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until rolls are brown.
 
Double  Orange Scones
 
2 cups flour
3 T. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/3 c. margerine
1/2 c. manderine oranges, drained
1/4 c. milk
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together. Flatten dough into a disk in the middle of a cookie sheet. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of sugar over the top and, using a floured knife, cut disk into eighths. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with Orange Butter (recipe below). Make 8 scones.

ORANGE BUTTER

1/2 c. margerine
2 T. orange marmalade

Mix together until well blended. Serve on warm scones. 
Grease Cutter Cleanup
 
Use this homemade solution to cut grease buildup on stoves, backsplashes, or glossy enamel surfaces:
 
    1/4 cup baking soda
    1/2 cup white vinegar
    1 cup ammonia
    1 gallon hot water
 
Wear rubber gloves and use in a well-ventilated area.
 
 
Homemade Lye Soap
 
1-Measure out 13 1/2 cups or 6 1/2 pounds of lard.
 
2-Heat until dissolved in a granite or glass pan.
 
3-In a glass jar (I use the one gallon size. The kind that pickles come in.) measure out 2 1/2 pints of cold water, then pour in 12 oz. of pure lye (I use RED DEVIL). Stir until dissolved. DO NOT BREATHE FUMES!!!!
 
4-Let cool until you can comfortabley put your hands on the glass jar (about 85 degrees).
 
5-Get a flat box and line with plastic.
 
6-Pour lye mixture slowly into the lard while stirring constantly.
 
7-Stir until thick enough to pour into mold. (After I'm done...I pick the box up about a half inch off the cabinet and drop...pick it up...and drop. This brings air bubbles to the top and breaks them.)
 
8. Let set in a cool place until hard enough to cut into 2x2 squares. (The longer lye soap seasons...the better it is!)
 
Well...that's it for this time, Ladies! I'll be looking forward to getting together with you all soon! God bless you!
 
Until next time...
~Rebecca

Friday, January 13, 2017

Five Minute Friday - MIDDLE



Five Minute Fridaya free write, which means, as our hostess, Kate Motaung, says, "...no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write."

This week's prompt is MIDDLE.

Go!

Betwixt...between...right smack dab in the middle...that's where I feel like I've been held captive for over a decade now. Caught between what used to be...battling with what now is...attacks on every front from an unseen enemy that wants nothing less than to kill, steal, and destroy all that is near and dear to my heart at every turn.

Every time I think progress is being made, in swoops the enemy to take another blow in a show of defiance!

No more! 

No more halt betwixt two...light on the one side; darkness on the other...me in the middle.

No more!

Moving I am...into the glorious light of God's Word and no other...pressing forward...pressing on...even if it means leaving behind loved ones who are trapped...victims in a web of their own making...victims in a web of deceit spun by them that profess light by day, but, secretly dabble in the unfruitful works of darkness by night.

No more!

"For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad" (Luke 8:17). 

Amen!

Stop!

Stepping Boldly Across The Line,
~Rebecca

Friday, January 6, 2017

Five Minute Friday - CONNECT



Five Minute Fridaya free write, which means, as our hostess, Kate Motaung, says, "...no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write."

This week's prompt is: CONNECT

Go!

It's been a long time since I've written anything substantial, or even faithfully, on this blog. 2016 was not the best for our family (son-in-law's brain tumor, my dad's continuing health decline and ultimate death, a move to a new home),  but it's a new year and it's time to refocus and move on. In 2017 it is my desire to become faithful in my writing again, to reconnect with old friends here at Five Minute Friday, branch out, and to make new friends along the way.

So how do I reconnect when I've been away so long? How do I plug into an audience that probably left me long ago? How and where do I begin? Do I simply start over and hope for the best?

I don't know that it's feasible, but that's my plan...to just write what's in my heart and focus on being faithful. If I can just be consistent in writing anything on a regular basis...that in and of itself will be a big step for me at this point. The connecting and reconnecting with come in time.

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10). 

Stop!

All My Love,
~Rebecca