Saturday, July 4, 2015

Vegan and Gluten Free Brownie Bites

This Fourth of July I decided to make something sweet to bring to a friend's BBQ.  Now, since my children choose to eat a vegan diet and I rarely make sweets except when they're home, most of what I have on hand are vegan ingredients.  Also, one daughter avoids gluten and she contends that it has greatly contributed to the fact that she no longer needs to medicate for depression.  For that reason, and the fact that I try not to consume much wheat at all as I fight the middle age battle of the bulge, I only keep gluten free flour in my cabinet.  
I've found this one from Costco to be quite good as a one to one substitute in all of my baking recipes.  Now for the recipe, I adapted one from one of my favorite bloggers, Dana is a pro blogger and always has super quick and delicious vegan recipes!  I started with her Simple Vegan Brownie recipe, made it GF and added the frosting to come up with a hit!  After deciding what to make I gathered the ingredients...

With everything mixed, the mini muffin pans filled, and the oven hot, it was time to bake, cool and frost!

I had these plastic star plates from the Dollar Tree that were perfect to take them to the BBQ.  The finishing touches with the patriotic sprinkles were just right. They were a big hit for holiday style and deliciousness!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Thoughts on Charleston

 The Charleston shooting has brought a lot of things to my mind.  I am a South Carolinian by birth.  Charleston is one of my favorite cities in the US.  I grew up in Columbia which is the capital of South Carolina and about two hours away. I remember walking around and seeing the beautiful historic city more times than I can count. The landmark Emanuel AME church is as familiar to me as buildings in any town that I have resided in. My mother  had relatives who lived in the old part of Charleston near what’s called the Battery.  We visited them a couple of times for weddings or other affairs when I was very young. Our family also enjoyed the Charleston beaches, especially when my sister’s family lived at Edisto Beach.
    When I was in the fourth grade in 1970 South Carolina was celebrating its Tricentennial.  Imagine three hundred years of statehood!  (I live in Idaho now, and it has been a state for a mere 125 years.) For the Tricentennial, a park called Charles Towne Landing was built with 300 years of artifacts and history depicting the lives of the people who had been native to the land and those who made it their home; and of course, those who were brought as slaves to serve the particular settlers who owned plantations and lived according to a code that made sense to them alone.  
    In college and as a young adult, Charleston was a mecca to go to for the beaches or with the party-goers for the great clubs and bars and an occasional big name concert appearance. In 1989 Hurricane Hugo ripped through Charleston and I was there with the American Red Cross.  I had just completed Disaster Services Human Resources Training and spent three weeks in the field delivering food to people who were in all sorts of disarray.  I kept thinking of the people of a church where we delivered food on one of the barrier islands in Charleston after Hugo.  These folks had almost their entire church roof ripped off by the hurricane yet they were setting up a food distribution center to take care of the community and going forth to do God’s work.  I remember that they asked our crew from the food truck to come to Sunday services and we did.  We might have been the only white faces there but we simply felt like the family of God in His house.  We were welcomed and there was joy like no other in that place.  Except for seeing the sky because of the missing roof, you wouldn’t have any reason to believe that anything was amiss that day!  These people knew how to glorify and worship their Creator.  I learned more about lifting up and adoring God that day than I had in a lifetime of reverent liturgical protestant services. This church was alive with the Holy Spirit!
    I read reports of people who were shocked that Emanuel AME was having services on the Sunday following the shootings, but I didn’t expect anything less.  I’ve seen comments that “everybody” in the South is a racist. I believe there are surely plenty in the South as well as many other places but there are lots more people who are not racists. Just because a person is from a community or a family where there is prejudice or hatred or judgement that does not sentence them to living a life carrying those beliefs.  Every person decides for himself or herself what to think and how to act.  Does everyone in a family or a town or same club or same church have to like the same color? Or the same food? Do they all have to like the same books or movies?  Wear the same style clothes or hair? Dig a little deeper.  Do they have the same religion, work ethic, bedtime, philosophies of life?  Get real!  
    I’m very proud of the families of the victims of the Emanuel AME tragedy.  Their faith and Christian response is admirable and I hope for that kind of strength when I have trials.  I hope that some good can come from this sad and tragic loss. Maybe the people of SC who continue to glamorize the Confederate flag and other symbols of the Old South with take notice of the harm it can do in the mind of a person like Dylann Roof. To him maybe it’s more than just a memorial of a time past, it empowers hatred and fuels a need to turn the clock back to a time when he feels that hate was acceptable.
    And so my heart is heavy for the people of Charleston as they mourn a great loss and my prayers go with them.  For the families of the nine, I pray for comfort in the loss and strength to face each new day with purpose and joy.  I also pray for Dylann Roof, that he listens to the families’ admonitions and repents and seeks to know the only One who can save him from eternal damnation.  To the Roof family I pray for peace from what must be hell on earth.  Finally, after a lifetime of hearing “the South’s gonna rise again”,  maybe just a new phrase will come from this like “the South will rise above it, together and for all!”

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Back to the blog!

I've been out of the blog loop for a really long time!  life! Oh, how it can get in the way!  My main objective this June is to stay on track with 1) Daily devotional; 2) Daily Exercise; 3) Home Organization; and 4) Prepare for a brand new self-created curriculum for my PE classes! Reliance on God is the only way.  Otherwise six weeks would never be enough to do it all and do it all well.

Anyway,  I'm very excited to have stumbled upon (I believe I was divinely-led, actually) an online Bible study on Proverbs that was just beginning on the day that I was seeking to start!  (That's how God works, you know).  I started that on Monday morning and it's good to feel plugged in to a women's study again. My girls' group here in my home church  dissolved due to lots of extenuating outside forces and saddened me greatly.  I hope that connecting this way I can gain strength to once again form another bond of ladies here in town.

Cardio continues to improve for me  with waliking times averaging around 15 minute miles and getting 2-3 miles in most mornings.  Strength training these days is usually not formal, but limited  to the massive amount of gardening that is going on- digging, wheelbarrow, weeding, etc.- definitely a full body workout!  Stretching mostly comes from some great videos thanks to the world wide web!  Especially fond of this one this week after all the gardening:

The home organization has begun by getting the garden beds cleaned out and planted.

School just got out last week, so asides from putting some papers in order and sending a few emails, the rest can wait a week or two!

Until next time-which will be sooner I hope!  Healthy thoughts!