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Archive for December, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It finally feels like Christmas to me, today. School is out! Vacation is here! We had a dusting of snow earlier this week!

Tonight is my first night off of the Christmas holidays, and what am I doing? Cooking, of course!

Today I made Chex mix and pear jelly! The Chex mix is delightful, and dairy and gluten free! (Just substitute 1/4 cup of olive oil for the butter in the recipe on the box, and add a little extra salt. Tastes just as good, and you don’t have to wait for the butter to melt!)
The jelly is still boiling in the pot, but last time I stirred it, a little got on my finger…it tastes pretty yummy!

Tomorrow: cookies of many kinds! My baking list is ambitious (it always is!), and I may not make it through all of the deliciousness, but it is fun to have many options!

…Hey, I’m back. Thanks for waiting! I had to go jar up the jelly. This is the first time I’ve made jelly! Can you tell I’m a bit excited about it???

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As I stirred the jelly tonight, I was thinking about what I was doing at this time last year. (not Exactly this time…I’m the polar opposite of a numbers genius…just this season). I was a student then, working hard in an online court reporting school, so I was looking forward to a double vacation: no work AND no homework!!! Then I got a phone call, informing me that, due to a change in academic progress requirements, I was being dropped from the court reporting program. Merry Christmas. Without boring you with a long saga of the joys and frustrations of learning machine shorthand, it is hard to explain how frustrating this news was. I spent hours on the phone, talking to strangers far away, trying to convince them to fix the problem, do something different, or at least understand and pretend to care about what a third of their students were going through. (Those of you who know me know how much I enjoyed that stressful experience…) As person after person gave me a resounding, “TOO BAD!” I realized that God must have a different plan for me.

Just after that, a friend sent me an email, one of those forwards that circulates every so often. Usually I just skim through, but this one had a message for me. Somewhere in the middle it said, “When it seems that God is taking something away, you don’t need to try to hang on to it. He is getting your hands empty so He can fill them with something new in His plan for you!”

I decided to be excited, and to look for these new things God was bringing into my life.

I have now been a full year as a free, non-student. As I stirred the jelly some more, and checked on the Chex mix in the oven, I began making a mental list of blessings I have had this year that would not have been possible had I still been in school:

Time to try many new cooking experiments, like pear jelly!
I was able to take an assignment interpreting a week-long overnight outdoor school, which was an incredibly memorable experience! If I had needed to focus on homework, I couldn’t have gone on that trip.
I just bought a new car, which I can afford because I am not having to pay for school.
I got to relax and play in the summer, instead of practicing shorthand all the time!
I have the time and energy to work on a special sign language teaching project with my boss this year, which I am really enjoying!

These are just a few that came quickly to mind. There are many others!

Have you seen the movie, Joseph, King of Dreams? (That seems like a non sequitur, but it isn’t. Trust me.). There is a beautiful song in that show that is one of my favorites. Here are some of the words:

I thought I did what’s best, I thought I had the answers,
I thought I’d found the surest road, but that road brought me here.
So I put up a fight and told you how to help me
And just when I have given up, the truth is coming clear
That you know better than I, you know the way
I’ll let go the need to know why, for you know better than I…

Look it up on YouTube, it’s pretty!

Not only is it pretty, but the message is a good reminder. It is so very easy to get discouraged or sad when things don’t go the way I hoped or planned. It helps me to remember that God is in control, and that His plan is the best one!

My plan for tomorrow is cookie baking! But if God has a different plan, that’s okay. I’m excited to see what He wants me to do!

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Oh, hai.

It’s been a while, eh? In a way, that’s great because it means I’ve been Living, not sitting around bored! At the same time, I never stop writing inside my head. Lately, though, SO MUCH has been going on that I would need a few months to write about it all, a post at a time! Good news for me on that front is, i just discovered the WordPress app! I find it much easier to navigate than the website, and it means i can take my blogging along with me much easier than before! Yay! (This is my first post using it!)

Taking into account that inspiration strikes me at random and rather slowly, as a certain friend and partner-in-literary-crime of mine can attest, it could take a whole year! Instead, I offer the short version; a string of my random thoughts about each significant event recently, culminating, as always, with a recipe of deliciousness! I don’t really understand Twitter (what is it, like Instant Messaging with the whole world?) but if I had an account, the last few weeks might have looked like this…..

TWO Alice in Wonderland birthday parties!!! Tea (of course!), gorgeous cakes, delicious Chinese foods (some recipes coming soon!) I cooked! It’s what I like to do!
(Note: If my future husband is reading this, just because I Like to cook doesn’t mean I always cook on my birthday. Do you like to cook? I’d love to let you! 🙂 I approve of restaurants, too!)

Here’s some decorations I painted for one of the parties…

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Trip to the Gem Fair resulted in purchase of a pretty thing I can’t show now (it’s a Christmas gift!), and some cute little bottles with corks! It is a beautiful place to visit, very shiny.
Another message for my future husband: Good news for your pocketbook! After wandering around a huge showroom of jewelry, I find I have absolutely no desire to possess most of it. Engagement ring, wedding band, done. Unless, of course, you Like jewelry, in which case I can endeavor to change my attitude…

Christmas! Christmas projects! So many fun things to do! So many secrets! Shhh!!!

Christmas concerts! Interpreting Christmas songs is so fun! God blessed me with good health for all three performances, and a perfect song order that gave me breaks in just the right places. NCU’s choir sounded amazing, and it was really great to be involved! Got to meet some neat people, too.

Have you noticed how many people are having babies right now? I, personally, know 6 people who have had a baby in the last couple of months, or are about to have one! Too bad none of them live close to me! Not enough nearby babies to hold!
I love babies.

There were no babies at our family Thanksgiving this year. But there was gluten free green bean casserole. It could have been dairy free, had I taken the time to make the soup myself. There was a lot of other yummy food too, but green bean casserole is what’s on the menu for today! Here we go!

Gluten free Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:
Green beans, frozen, fresh, or canned
2 boxes of Pacific’s gluten free cream of mushroom soup
A splash of milk
2 onions
1 cup gluten free flour (I used brown rice flour)
Salt
Pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Oil for frying (I used Grapeseed Oil)

First, make the fried onion topping. Slice your onions in whatever way you like best. Put the cup of flour and the sliced onions into a large zip top baggie. Add a dash of salt, and a pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper. Shake it up! Then heat your oil to around 350 degrees. Fry the onions in batches, and remove them to a drying rack or paper towels. Sprinkle with salt while still hot. Try not to eat them all…

If your beans are frozen, I recommend thawing them first!
In a 13 x 9″ baking pan, mix as many green beans as will fit with the two boxes of mushroom soup. Thin the soup with a little milk if you need to. Sprinkle the fried onions on top, then bake at 350 until the whole casserole is hot and bubbly (at least 20 minutes).

Enjoy!

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