Saturday, August 2, 2014
Sunday, July 6, 2014
This year for our Independence Day cookout I decided to make panna cotta. I first had panna cotta on our wild European vacation, and it was love at first bite. It was simple to make that I felt a little guilty serving it to guests. Panna cotta is basically a dairy pudding made with gelatin, and it is extremely delicious.
Vanilla Panna Cotta
2 cups whole milk ( 1 percent will work as well)
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
2 cups assorted fresh berries
1. Sprinkle geletin over milk in a saucepan and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes
2. Heat milk over medium heat until geletin dissolves approximately 5 minues.
3. Add cream sugar vanilla and salt and continue cooking mixture until sugar completely dissolves 5 - 7 minutes
4. Remove from heat and pour into containers. (I used plastic wine glasses from the dollar store and filled them approximately 2/3 full). Allow to cool and place in refrigerator to set.
5. Once set add mixed berries on top.
Monday, June 30, 2014
2. Captain America: Winter Soldier
4. X-men: Days of Futures Past
5. Transformers: Age of Extinction
Friday, June 27, 2014
Overall Maleficent ranks in at number 3 on my favorite movies of 2014, slightly edging out X-Men Days of Futures Past, but still a ways behind Winter Soldier and my number one, The Lego Movie. So Transformers comes out today and yes I will be seeing it, hoping it will prove better than the last two sequels.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Research, research, research
I can not stress this enough. When ever you plan a trip whether at home or abroad take some time to read up on your destination. Find out what is there to see and do, what is the climate and weather forecast, and how much will things cost. When planning our trip to Rome we picked up travel guides from AAA and also viewed travel videos on YouTube. Rick Steves has some great videos here https://www.youtube.com/user/RickSteves.
Most airlines allow one checked bag and one carry-on piece of luggage per person, some also allow for n additional personal item as well, i.e. a laptop bag, purse, or camera bag. The maximum allowable weight for checked luggage on an international flight is 23 kg or 50 lbs anything over that and you will either be charged extra or they might not allow the bag on at all. Also keep in mind that souvenirs will add to the weight of the bags on the return flight. You will also want to pack a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage.Why? you might ask, because checked baggage can sometimes get lost in transit, especially if you are switching flights half way through your trip. Also, instead of packing one bag per person consider distributing everyone's clothes equally between all your bags. For example, instead of all my clothes being in one suitcase I placed three complete outfits in each suitcase, My wife and daughter did the same. This was to make sure if a bag got lost, everyone would still have clothes. It also evenly distributed the weight across all three bags. Also remember the 3-1-1 rule: 3.4 ounces (100 ml) bottle or less(by volume)of any liquid placed in a 1 quart (1 liter) sized bag per person. This rule is for carry-on luggage, larger sizes can be carried in checked baggage.
Don't Be Afraid to Try New Things
This should be obvious but you may want to prepare your picky eaters to attempt new and exciting things. this goes for you too, mom and dad. Go with the expectation that you will try at least two new dishes if not more. For example, While in Rome both my wife and I decided that we wanted to try Gelato, honestly we had never had it before, and carbonara. Not only did we try those but we also fell in love with panna cotta, and the lemon ravioli my wife had one night was out of this world.
Dress to Travel
I'm not saying you have to throw on lederhosen like the Von Trapps, but you should be mindful of what to wear. First you need to be conscious of how airport security works. Don't wear anything metal if you can avoid it, gold doesn't set off the metal detectors but steel does, so no watches or bracelets. No belts unless you absolutely need one, you will have to remove it to go through security. You will also have to remove your shoes, at least in the USA, so wear something that can be slipped on and off easily. Also no pants with chains or excess rivets unless you like being patted down.With all that being said I recommend wearing comfortable tennis shoes and loose fitting jeans or khakis with a t-shirt or polo type shirt. Keep in mind that the plane is Air Conditioned and is usually a might chilly so unless it is a short flight I don't recommend shorts. Depending on when your flight is scheduled you may be sleeping in these clothes so again keep them loose and comfortable.
Secure Your Valuables
When ever I travel to a large tourist city, even if it is just a day trip to New York. I always keep my wallet in my front pocket. I've never been pick-pocketed, and I don't plan to be, so I don't make my self a target. Women are not immune either so I recommend either ditching the purse and getting a wallet to put in your front pocket also or if you are using a purse, use one with an adjustable shoulder strap and wear it with the strap crossing your body keeping the purse itself close to the front of your body. Also. as I told my daughter if in a crowd hold onto your purse keeping it against your body, it makes it more difficult to snag and thus reducing your likelihood to be a target. I also recommend that if your hotel room has a safe that you use it. There is no reason to carry all your credit cards and money with you every time you leave the hotel room.
It's vacation after all it should be fun and stress free. Don't try to see and do everything in the country or city you are visiting, just do the things that will create the best memories and remember to plan in some down time to just relax.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
I have been sufering from horrible migraines the last three weeks which have been directly caused by a lingering sinus infection. After repeated failed attempts to rid myself of the infection through natural means (forget water boarding lets just use a netipot on terrorists), I finally broke down and went to the urgent care to get some good old fashioned antibiotics, and some prednisone for the swelling. I know some folks don't like traditional western medicine, but sometimes it really is just what the doctor ordered, and those that know me know my mantra in all things is balance.
This whole thing got me thinking. As always my thinking brought me back around to my faith in God. I have always tried to base my walk with God on balance. God is the all powerful creator and as such we need to approach Him with all the awe and and reverence that He deserves. He is also our source of comfort and help, He is father (i.e. daddy) to the fatherless, Husband to the widow, and brings Joy to those who mourn. He is Lord and King, the righteous judge, the drill seargent if you will bringing discipline into our lives. He is also our closest friend and confidant, giver of mercy, and lover of our souls. He allows tradgedy to befall us yet never what we cannot handle and always works things out for our greater good, though we may not realize it at the time.
Worship becomes more of a conversation and a journey through song to where God wants his people to be
This balance naturally influence me when selecting songs for worship each Sunday. The first thing I do is ask 'what does God want to sayto his people this week through worship and what does He want from us in return.' Worship becomes more of a conversation and a journey through song to where God wants his people to be, preparing their hearts to receive the word that will be shared by our pastor. The I try to balance a healthy respect for past traditions and a need to continually move forward when it comes to the actual selection of songs, balancing both traditional hymns and choruses with more contemporary songs, always deferring to which ones will forward the theme God has given me. One of my guiding rules is to select one traditional hymn each week (this doesn't always happen, but the majority of the time I can find a hymn that will flow both thematically and musically). I also like to include songs that that speak about our God to others and songs that allow us to express ourselves to God directly. I do have some personal preferences as well, like wanting the opening song to have some element of inviting people into worship and the closing song having an anthem quality to it.
GOD should always be the focus of our worship.
The most important aspect in our worship, not just our songs by he way, is authenticity. People, whether they are in our congregations on Sunday morning or our next door neighbors, need to see us worship i.e. serve in Spirit and in Truth. We don't need to puff ourselves up, our worship services are not a concert, and you are not the star. GOD should always be the focus of our worship.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups of all purpose flour
4 tbs of sugar
1/2 tbs of Kosher salt
1 tsp of Baking Soda
4 tbs of butter (half a stick)
1 tsp of orange or lemon zest
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
flour for the raisins
Preheat the oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Mix until combined.
In a separate bowl lightly whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and zest. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Add flour to the cup of raisins or dried cranberries and mix until they are coated. Add the fruit to the dough and mix until thoroughly combined.
Turn the dough out on a well floured board or table and kneed it a few times. Make sure the board has plenty of flour as the dough will be sticky. Form into 2 - 4 loaves. (You can bake it as one large loaf but I find the smaller loaves are easier to deal with. Place the loaves on the cookie sheet and cut an 'x' in the top of each with a serrated knife. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a baking rack and serve warm or at room temp.
Note: though not 'authentic' the combination of cranberries and orange zest is out of this world.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Until next time...
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Saturday, February 1, 2014
So over the holidays, I was perusing my local Ocean State Job Lot when I came across an interesting cookbook. It's called "The Stocked Kitchen Cookbook" and after reading the back cover blurb I was intrigued. The cookbook stated that with their one shopping list I could prepare over 100 different recipes. Hey I was game.
After reading the introductory pages and scanning some of the recipes, I decided to use their system. Though I would of course modify it because I can never leave anything alone.
The system is fairly simple, I'm sure most folks use a similar system but it was something I hadn't really thought about. The basic premise is that you have one master grocery list that contains everything you need to make all the recipes in the book. It's similar to using a build to list in a restaurant for ordering. Of course as I said before, some modifications needed to be made. For instance, the list included herbs de provence, and poultry seasoning, neither of which I will use, the first due to allergies abd the second due to personal preference, there was also very few sundry items on tge list. Also there were certain items that were missing from the list that I use in many of my own personal recipes, ie. allspice.
After revamping the list based on my own personal tastes, I went through my kitchen and crossed off the items I already had on hand. Then I went shopping. The benefit of this was that I now had all the ingredients on hand for anything I wanted to make. I was even able to use a recipe I found online right away because I had all the ingredients on hand.
Overall the system, or at least my modified version, is working for our home. So what about you? Is there a system you use to keep you pantry stocked? Let me know in the comments below.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
So after a longer than anticipated hiatus, I'm back! So to catch everyone up on what I've been up to, here is the run down. We finished our fall semester of co-op ( I was extremely proud of my recorder class and their performance of ' Home on the Range'), pulled off a Christmas cantata, celebrated Christmas, and just celebrated my birthday. Speaking of which my wife and daughter decided to pool their resources and get me a tablet. I'm so excited to use it this week at worship team practice to read my chord sheets.
So as I said I'm back, and I just wanted to apologize for not writing in so long. I've been busy with my new part time job, but that really isn't an excuse. I just fell into a pattern of not writing and that is not a good thing. Im going to strive to write more this year, I know I've said that before, as I really want this blog to be something people really want to read.
Anyway, I've got to head off to that part time job I talked about. I'll write again soon as I have some great ideas for homeschool resources, new recipes and organizational tips, and of course stories and insite gleaned from being a worship leader.