Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Ottawa

Last week this time, I was in Ottawa, Ontario. My first time to leave the U.S. – and I like Ottawa.

Let me share some pictures. Then you will like Ottawa too.

I’m not used to seeing French on stop signs in Texas.

For my bro.

Parliament. It’s beautiful. It looks like Europe.

This sign made us laugh.

Isn’t this beautiful?

I love the little houses!

Check out the blue.

Smile.

Well, that’s all for now. I have a spinach souffle coming up soon, so come back!

~Rachel~

“For it is God who works in you both to do and to will for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13)

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Making Pysanka

“Pysanka” are Ukrainian Easter eggs. But who says decorating eggs is just for Easter? My little sister received a Pysanka kit for her birthday, and though she has decorated numerous eggs since then, Tuesday was my first time to make one.

The method for decorating Pysanka is different than other Easter egg-decorating methods. You fill a your kistka with beeswax, melt the beeswax, then “paint” the beeswax on the egg.

(Kistka)

Then you soak your partially-beeswaxed egg into the first dye, usually yellow or another light color. Next cover the portion you want yellow with beeswax, and dip the egg into the next color. Keep going until you have the egg you want! Usually the last dye you dip the egg in is black or navy. The possibilities for pysanka are endless. Just google it. Here’s some of ours:

Really, don’t follow my directions. I was just trying to explain a little what making pysanka was like. It’s not like I even have that much experience…I’ve just made one. But does it count that I’ve watched Corrie and other people make them? I’m sure it does.

To wrap it all up, decorating pysanka is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with your little sister. Love you, Corrie!

~Rachel~

Happy Thanksgiving: Cinnamon Bark Sticks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! God has given me myriads of things to be thankful for; and there’s so many that I can’t even think of!

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to cook some extra-special things, so in these next couple posts I’ll be sharing some of those things that we enjoyed baking!

Cinnamon Bark Sticks

8 large egg whites

2 cups sugar, plus 1/4 cup

2 cups all-purpose flour

Pinch salt

1 tsp. cinnamon extract

10 T. butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup heavy cream

Brown gel food coloring

2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick silicon baking mat. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk together the egg whites and 2 cups of sugar until foamy. Add the flour and salt and mix to incorporate. Add the cinnamon extract, butter and cream, then beat again until completely smooth. In small amounts, add the brown food coloring a drop at a time until desired color is reached, stirring thoroughly between additions. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon. Scoop a teaspoon of batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a small offset spatula spread the batter thinly and evenly into a rectangle about 2-by-5 inches. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you should be able to fit 2 to 4 cookies on at a time. Sprinkle each rectangle lightly with the cinnamon-sugar. Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes, or until the surface looks dry. The edges should not be browned. Working quickly and as soon as the baking sheet comes out of the oven, one at a time use a spatula to flip each rectangle over. Tightly roll both long sides of each rectangle toward the center, similar to forming a scroll. Set aside to cool and repeat in batches with remaining dough. Yield: 36 sticks

I have to confess, these were quite a job. And of course we didn’t quite follow the recipe. We didn’t have any cinnamon extract, so we used a combination of cinnamon oil and plain ol’ ground cinnamon. You can tell from the photo that we didn’t roll them all up like scrolls. You had to roll fast, or else they would harden and start breaking. We also found that too much cinnamon-sugar makes them harder to roll, as it crystallizes and makes the sticks crusty.

However, they are delicious. Delicate, crispy, pleasant cinnamon flavor. We will enjoy these this Thanksgiving.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

~rachel~

I Love Fall, Part 2

God gave us such beautiful things to enjoy, and I think Fall flowers are especially beautiful.

Thanks to my brother who let me borrow his lens to take these!

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.

Fun with Fondant

It used to be such a mystery. Fondant. What is it? A surreal mixture. It’s what “they” use to make “their” cakes so smooth and beautiful.

So Corrie (my little sister) and I made it. We wanted to play with it. And we did.

We didn’t use it to ice cakes. Not this time, anyway. So don’t go getting weird ideas in your head about velveteen five-layer cakes.

We made trains. Thomas the Train. And his friends.

We decorated cupcakes for my nephew’s birthday. Because he loves Thomas the Train. Before, I never understood the obsession with Thomas the Train. What was the attraction? But now that I have a three-year-old nephew, I understand. I found myself in the kitchen making Thomas the Train cupcakes. With fondant!

I still have a lot to learn about fondant, though.

This is the recipe we used. I think we added too much powdered sugar, since it was pretty dry – hard to mix with the food coloring and to form.

Don’t ask the cupcake recipe I used, since I didn’t follow it very well. Right. Don’t ask.

Here’s the frosting recipe we used. It’s good stuff.

And here are the cupcakes.

Didn’t Corrie do a fantastic job on the rails and signs? And the engines were a together effort.

It was our fun thing to do together.

We like to cook together. A lot.

Who do you like to cook with?

~Rachel~

Pesto is Wonderful Stuff

Have you ever tried pesto? There’s nothing like it – how do I describe it? Sweet, earthy, a little spicy. And absolutely addicting!

And what to do with pesto? Eat it on a cracker, spread it on your sandwich with some mayonnaise, toss it with noodles, or add it to any recipe where you just want some extra basil flavor.

Here’s the recipe.

Pesto As It Should Be

3-4 cups fresh basil leaves

4 garlic cloves

1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts

1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste

Water for texture

This isn’t hard. Why am I even writing directions? Throw everything into a food processor and process until smooth. Take off the lid and smell it. Mmmmm. Try it on a cracker. What does it need? Definitely some more garlic. Or just a little water so it’s not so greasy. Or extra basil if it’s too soupy.

That’s all there is to pesto! Now you know what it is, and you don’t have any excuse for not making it. =) You can freeze it or store it in the refrigerator. I’m not sure how long it will survive in the refrigerator, but it lasts in the freezer for quite a long time.

Do you like pesto? What do you do with it?

Thanks for stopping by!

~rachel

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession through Him…

Our Dog is a Health Nut…

Maggie (the dog) likes good food, too. She insists on the raw and fresh.

True story: the broccoli was old and we put it in our compost pile. Maggie found it.

End of story.

Have a blessed, beautiful, fantastic, glorious day. God gives those.

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength….

~Rachel~

Herbs and Herb Recipes: Lavender

Lavender. So delicate, so beautiful, so fragrant. Yet I have failed miserably as an herb gardener: I have never used my lavender.

But that is no match for wishful thinking! (Name that movie!)

Don’t these recipes look tantalizing? Intriguing? Delightful? Etc.?

Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender Cookies

Almond Lavender Cake

Lavender Lemonade

What have you done with lavender?

~Rachel~

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Herbs and Herb Recipes: Basil

In case you have never met my herbs, let me introduce you now.

And while I’m introducing my herbs, I’ll offer some herb recipes. Now, I haven’t made any of these, so no guarantees. Some of them look good, though!

I’ll start with my favorite – basil. Yes, he’s my favorite herb of all my herb garden children. He’s gorgeous, he smells divine and tastes great. What more could I want?

Basil is best with tomatoes. I especially like it with homemade lasagna, spaghetti and spaghetti meatballs. Wow. It’s also good with sauteed vegetables.

And if you make pesto, it’s good with noodles, mixed with mayo for a sandwich, or just plain on a cracker.

Basil Noodles

Pesto

Artichoke Basil Pasta Sauce

Lemon Basil Cupcakes

That’s all for now. I’ll post more soon!

What do you like to do with basil?

~Rachel~

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Easy Avocados

Avocados can be so hard to peel and cut – do you agree?

So here’s an easy way to do it:

1. Slice the avocado in half; remove the pit.

2. Cut the avocado in cubes from the top; or rather, don’t cut through the skin.

3. Scoop the avocado cubes out. Break up with your fingers and sprinkle on your favorite salad!

I hope that makes since. It sure makes avocado-cutting easy!

~Rachel~

I’m putting this post on Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesday. Go to Tammy’s Recipes for more kitchen tips!