Friday, March 4, 2011

Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME - March 4, 2011


Greetings, dear friends! And welcome to the March 2011 edition of HEARTH AND HOME! It is so good to be with you again!

I can’t believe that we’re already in the third month of the New Year! Time just keeps whizzing by and, unfortunately, I don’t know where most of it has gone. Since the last issue of HEARTH AND HOME so many things have happened, but I’m sure that most of them have slipped my mind. I will share what I can remember and let the rest go until another time…provided the Lord brings it back around in my mind again. 

And, before we get started, I just want to take a moment to say that over the past six years, the Lord has brought me through some of the deepest and darkest times of my life, and, suddenly, after years of emotional pain and turmoil (some of it since childhood; much of it much later in life), I have finally had the breakthrough that I have sought for so long. God is good and I am so thankful for what He’s doing in my life right now. For the first time in years…and in some ways, for the very first time in my life ever…I am truly experiencing the joy of the Lord and finding that it is, indeed, my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)!

My heart is full and in the days ahead I hope to share so many things with you, but, for now, there are no words. Right now it’s all in just disjointed bits and pieces, but it’s coming together. It will take time to digest all that the Lord is doing right now and put it into some sort of coherent sentences, but, in time, the words will form, and when they do, I’m sure that they will usher forth and, hopefully, be a blessing and encouragement to others. Until then, all I can do is keep pressing “…toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). So, please, bear with me. 

Now…on to what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. Come join me as, together, we celebrate a small portion of all that encompasses Rebecca’s HEARTH AND HOME…

1)      In late January my friend, Carla, and I got together for a day of crafting. We spent the day crocheting, had lunch together, and just had a ball! I worked on baby booties while she finished up a baby blanket. One thing led to another and I ended up starting my own shop on Esty. I don’t have a lot of stuff on there yet, but, over time I hope to add more and more items. 



2)      In early February my husband lost another dear uncle (the second in about 7 weeks). Uncle Art was much loved and he will be greatly missed by all.

3)      On the 14th of February John and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. The evening before our children and their families got together and treated us to dinner at Denny’s. It was such a blessing to just sit there and behold the faces of each of our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren (19 in all were able to make it) and listen to the chatter and laughter of the adults and the playful giggling of the children. It was such a blessing! John and I are truly blessed beyond anything we ever could have imagined when we started out on this crazy adventure 23 years ago!

4)      On Valentine’s Day our homeschool group celebrated our 8th Annual Home School Family and Friends Valentine Exchange AND our First Annual Homeschool Family and Friends Valentine Party We had a great time!  



5)       The first crocus of 2011 popped it’s little head up on the 29th of January. By the 18th of February there were crocuses everywhere. By last week there was a sea of them in our backyard. 



6)      Last Saturday we celebrated our our first Shabbet meal. 

      Can you tell that we are a celebrating people? LOL! My husband is half Sicilian and he loves celebrations! In fact, a while back when I asked him to make me a list of things that he would like me to work on, one of the things he wrote was, “Think of and plan fun activities and celebrations for us as a couple and family, as well.” He is thrilled that we are doing the Shabbet meal! 



7)      We had our first tornadoes of the season on the 27th of February. Unbelievable! Fortunately, no one in our area was hurt, but there were several reports of damage. We decided to ride the storm out at home (instead of running for cover like we’ve done so many times in the past) and were blessed with a surprise visit by some crazy, adventurous friends who were out chasing the storms and decided to stop in and check on us. We settled in to a nice visit with a pan of warm brownies and cups of hot tea. The storm raged and our hearts were quieted.

8)      Here is a new recipe that I tried recently and it was a big hit! Dh says he would be happy to see this on the menu on a regular basis…

ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large red onion, cut into pieces
2 green bell peppers, cut into pieces
1 pound Italian sausage (I make my own with 93/7 ground turkey)
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add vegetables; cook and stir until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook 4 minutes or until sausage is brown. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, until peppers are soft. Serve with crusty Italian bread, or over noodles, pasta, or rice. VERY GOOD!

9) Another recipe that I made recently is this one…

BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE

2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter, softened
1 c. milk
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat until well blended. Spread half the batter in a 13x9x2 oblong pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray, or in a 9x9x2 square pan. Sprinkle with 1-cup fresh or frozen blueberries that have been thawed and well drained. Top with remaining batter; sprinkle with another cup of fresh or frozen blueberries that have been thawed and well drained. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Drizzle warm coffee cake with mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. dried orange or lemon peel, and 1 to tablespoons of lemon juice.

10)   I've shared this recipe before. It tastes sort of like those dunkin' doughnut sticks. We have it once year (St. Patty’s Day) and it’s one of our absolute family favorites!

EMERALD ISLE CAKE

1/2 cup butter (I use light butter in all my recipes)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together well, then pour into an 8 x 8 square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Make glaze (below) and pour over hot cake fresh from the oven. Allow to cool, cut into 4" x 2" pieces and serve with tea or coffee. Delicious!

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk

Stir together until smooth. Pour over hot cake fresh from oven.

11)  I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but plan to soon…

BAKED OATMEAL

3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten

Additional milk

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Spoon into a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm with milk. Yield: 8 servings.

12) This one is another recipe that I very much want to make right away…

IRISH OATMEAL SCONES

3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup dried currents (or craisins, dried cranberries, almonds, raisins, or
combination of
these fruits and nuts)

Whisk together milk, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Add fruit and/or nuts. Mix well and drop by 1/3 cupfuls into each compartment of a 12-cup muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until done.

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Well, I have more to share, but, unfortunately, for tonight I’m out of time. In the near future, I do plan to share some thoughts and ideas on spring cleaning, household finances, and gardening. Until next time…

All My Love,
~Rebecca

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